Couple of things! First, Ignatius is having a 30% off sale on children’s books. Just about every book for kids is on sale until Sunday, March 26 at 11:59 PM Pacific. They have so many lovely titles, including many re-issues by Tomie dePaola. (I reviewed some others here.)
Second, today I have two more books to give away! Two more wonderful Tomie dePaola books, both great picks for Easter. And weirdly enough, they ended up being two books about two very different models of masculinity (or maybe that’s just where my head is at right now).
First: THE LITTLE FRIAR WHO FLEW
It’s a cheery, attractive, colorful book full of details, animals, flowers and fanciful historical costumes, and makes a good introduction to the life of Joseph of Cupertino, the simple-minded, accident-prone boy who experiences the joy of God so directly, he levitates.
The story has a gentle arc and ends quietly with Joseph escaping fame and returning to his solitary life in the hills.
The text is by Patricia Lee Gauch and illustrated by dePaola in 1980, in a style that’s a little more line-heavy and busy and maybe more comic-like, less elegant and delicate than the style we may associate with dePaola.
Not a bad thing, just worth noting.
Incidentally, last night we watched The Reluctant Saint (1962) about Joseph of Cupertino and we all liked it. I’ll try and do a full review later this week, but it was entertaining and well-realized and although it was certainly dated, it had some very moving scenes and extremely appealing characters.
CHRISTOPHER THE HOLY GIANT, written and illustrated by dePaola. This one was first published in 1994, and it is my favorite dePaola era.
What a story! This is very much what I mean by a myth: Something that’s not perhaps intended to be taken as a literal historical account, but is crafted to convey things that are true and important about humans, about the world, and about God.
It’s told very simply, without embellishment, and lets the glowing, icon-like illustrations wallop you.
There are two pages with no text
And it ends with Jesus telling him everything he needs to know, and Christopher listens, and the very next day his actions bear fruit. What do you know about that.
What a book! Can we have this as recommended reading for high school kids? For seminarians?
Uh, I don’t mean to be a weirdo, but Christopher actually kind of looks like the sigma male or gigachad meme guy, ultra-muscular, ultra-masculine lone wolf who does what he wants and follows his own set of very simple rules.
I feel like a lot of dudes I’ve encountered have been reduced to Reprobus [Christopher’s name before he meets Jesus] level-grasp of cultural and spiritual norms. They know they are strong, and they are just looking for someone even stronger to follow, the end. What to do?
Not that there is any kind of pop cultural subtext in this book, or anything! I just thought it’s an especially poignant parable for 2023. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to buy this for your little kids but leave it around for your teenage boys to read. (I’m a big believer in leaving books lying around where they may be idly picked up, like outside the bathroom or in the car, or on the table when dinner is almost ready.)
Anyway, both books, in their own way, are about being the person God made you to be, and using the strengths you have been given for their proper ends. Good stuff, good stories.
And now the giveaway! To enter to win both books courtesy of Ignatius, just leave a comment on this site and I’ll use a random number generator to pick and notify a winner on Sunday afternoon. (That will give you a chance to still purchase them at 30% off if you don’t win.) Good luck!