Friday, 23 September 2011

Brother William's Year by Jan Pancheri (Children's, Picture Book, 10/10E)

1st September, Frances Lincoln 
36 pages, Paperback
Review copy 

Children's, Picture book 

Themes: medieval times, abbey, monks, gardening, housekeeping, caring for the sick, seasons, prayer, worship, reflection, strong community spirit. 

Summary from Frances Lincoln
Brother William is a kind-hearted 14th-century monk gardener at Westminster Abbey responsible for providing food for the other monks. This diary of his year shows what happens month by month in delightful words and pictures. There are decorative endpapers of the Abbey and gardens, an introduction of Westminster and a note on the life of Benedictine monks - all meticulously researched, written and illustrated with warmth and humour by Westminster Abbey's very own Head Gardener. 

Nayuleska's reason for loving Brother William...I'm glad I have more than one day off work a year, but Brother William is caring and compassionate. He loves to help others and works hard, all of which are great qualities to have. 

What style are the illustrations? At the beginning with all the copyright blurb it says it is illustrated by gouache thinned with egg yok. I don't know what this is, but the colours are warm, inviting and match the feel of the story. 

Are the illustrations interactive or engaging? Very much so! I found myself making up stories about the different monks I saw on the pages, especially in the larger ones where there's a lot of detail. 

Is there a message for the reader to take away? Definitely work hard, but play hard too, as well as helping others who aren't so fortunate. 

One of my favourite parts was...the snow monk! That was really funny, and not something I expected to see. 

This insight into a monk's life is thought provoking and pretty to look at, getting 10/10 from me. 

Suggested read
Another book which also got my imagination fired up through illustrations was Lucy Goes to Market by Imogen Clare and Sanchia Oppenheimer  

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