Academic journal article Language Arts

Brother Hugo and the Bear

Academic journal article Language Arts

Brother Hugo and the Bear

Article excerpt

Brother Hugo and the Bear Written by Katy Beebe Illustrated by S. D. Schindler Eerdmans, 2014, unpaged, ISBN 978-0-8028-5407-0

This entertaining book details the adventures of the unfortunate Brother Hugo, who cannot return his library book because it was eaten by a bear. The improbable event will delight readers who swear their dog really did eat their homework, even as it highlights the reality that Brother Hugo must replace the book in the ways of his time-reproducing the illuminated manuscript by hand. Beebe's witty understatement and humorous irony are to be savored. The Abbot's calm admonishment-"Books in bears' stomachs do monks no good"-and Brother Hugo's reflection on bear habits-"[O]nce a bear has a taste of letters, his love of books grows much the more"-offer young readers an entry into sophisticated humor expressed in simple and restrained ways.

Evoking the memory and feeling of ancient illuminated manuscripts, Schindler's gorgeously detailed watercolor illustrations, with their richly painted initial caps and page borders, set the medieval mood. …

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