Monday, June 02, 2014

403 (2014 #31). The Legend of Saint Nicholas

by Anselm Grün,
illustrated by Giulano Ferri,
translated by Laura Watkinson

Little is known about the "real" Saint Nicholas.  The only historically certain fact is that he was Bishop of Myra (part of Turkey today) in the fourth century AD.  He died sometime between 343 and 352 AD.  Therefore, "legend" is an appropriate title, as there is not enough known about him for a true biography.

This book shares some of the folklore about Saint Nicholas, patron saint of sailors (among other groups).  While the book mentions Saint Nicholas Day (December 6) and the associated gift-giving traditions in some countries (Germany, the Netherlands), there is no mention of Santa Claus - for which I am thankful.  However, I would have liked to see a short note at the beginning or end with a simple sentence explaining where the places (Patara and Myra) mentioned in the book are, and the time period in which Nicholas lived.

Anselm Grün is a Benedictine monk who lives in Germany and writes in German.  His around-300 books have been translated into 30 languages.  Giuliano Ferri is an Italian illustrator whose work can also be found in other traditional tales such as Caspar and the Star, Ant and Grasshopper, and Little Stone Buddha.  His soft paintings are double-page spreads that are warm and inviting.

© Amanda Pape - 2014

[This unbound galley proof was sent to me in exchange for an unbiased review by the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.]

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