Cover image for Brother sun, sister moon : the life and stories of St. Francis
Brother sun, sister moon : the life and stories of St. Francis
Mayo, Margaret.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Boston, MA : Little, Brown, and Co., [2000]

Physical Description:
70 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
The story of St. Francis of Assisi, who rejected his wealthy background to lead a life of poverty, good works, and kindness to animals.
Reading Level:
740 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.7 4 Quiz: 23841.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX4700.F69 M39 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
BX4700.F69 M39 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
BX4700.F69 M39 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
BX4700.F69 M39 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



Saint Francis of Assisi has always held a fascination for members of all faiths, and his story continues to inspire and motivate us more than seven hundred years after his death. Born into a wealthy family, he led a dissolute life as a young man. Then one day he had a conversion experience while passing a poor leper's hut. From that day on, Francis dedicated his life to helping the poor and outcasts of society and to teaching respect for all living things. He was joined by a noblewoman, Clare, who was soon known as Sister Moon to Francis's Brother Sun. This appealing book includes many of the tales that were told about him, including his taming of the fierce wolf of Gubbio and the famous prayer that begins, "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace". With its charming text and glowing illustrations this is a book to give, to keep, to cherish.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-6. In this handsome volume, Mayo tells the story of St. Francis of Assisi (1181^-1226). The son of a wealthy merchant, Francis renounced his life of luxury to live simply, praying and helping others. Besides the story of Francis' life, the book also includes three long tales and five short ones related to the saint. The volume ends with a poem written and set to music by St. Francis, "The Canticle of Brother Sun," and an account of what happened after his death: books published about him, his canonization, and the continuation of the Franciscan Order. Written with simplicity and grace, the stories often show Francis' special relationship with animals, particularly birds. The generous use of white space, the nice-size type, and the well-placed illustrations make the pages spacious and readable. Malone's impressive artwork has a medieval look, but not just because of the settings and costumes. Special care has been taken with the placement of figures in the picture plane and the use of gestures in the compositions. A most beautiful portrayal of the man who became Saint Francis. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Malone's (The Magic Flute) magnificently detailed illustrations are the highlight of this attractive volume, which tells of the perennially popular Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), the son of a wealthy merchant who went on to take a vow of poverty and ascended to sainthood. Beginning with a sketchy biography, Mayo (How to Count Crocodiles) adds several legends about St. Francis. Unfortunately, the biographical section may raise more questions than it answers. For instance, most biographers agree that Francis's yearlong imprisonment was a time of epiphany, but Mayo's account is confusing ("After a long illness, Francis returned to his old life of luxury and pleasure. Illness and prison had changed him though, so that now he would sometimes walk alone in the hills, thinking and praying"). While the biographical section fails to capture the charisma of both Francis the indulged youth and Francis the convert, his magnetic qualities come through more clearly in the legends that follow (especially in "How Francis Tamed a Ferocious Wolf" and "The Ox, the Ass and the Child of Bethlehem"). Supplied in abundance, Malone's exquisite vignettes and spot illustrations, inspired by Italian frescoes, do more than the text to characterize the saint. His Francis possesses an accessible yet otherworldly quality, whether singing beneath a crescent moon as a man born to affluence, riding off to war in his stately armor or praying in the ruined church of San Damiano. By the time readers find St. Francis's own "Canticle of Brother Sun," included at the end, they'll know how to appreciate it. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-A highly readable and aesthetically appealing portrait of St. Francis of Assisi. Eleven chapters subtly suggest a distinction between life and legend. Mayo begins with biography and proceeds with the well-known stories of how Francis tamed a wolf, talked to the birds, and organized the first living crŠche. These are followed by lesser-known tales, a simplified version of The Canticle of Brother Sun, information about the canonization, and the 1997 earthquake that destroyed much of the Basilica of San Francesco. Malone's paintings combine elements from illuminated manuscripts and frescoes by Giotto with invented, playful cameos united through scale, palette, and subject. The overall effect is of an enactment of a medieval mystery play, with the saint, his family, and followers as central characters. The sun and the moon also appear, at times as heavenly bodies, or as costumed actors or musicians, depending on the scene. The only image that disrupts the flow is the procession to the first nativity. Other sources place the scene in a cave. Here it is a church-one that looks like a modern structure. The brief bits of dialogue are similar to those found in other biographies; Mayo does offer some information on sources, including an allusion to Francis's own writings, but direct documentation is not provided. The art creates a medieval setting quite effectively; the generous use of white space between the relatively simple sentences makes the content accessible to a range of readers. Consider this one even if you have other titles about this popular saint.-Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.