Cover image for Saint Ciaran : the tale of a saint of Ireland
Saint Ciaran : the tale of a saint of Ireland
Schmidt, Gary D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapid, Mich. : Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, [2000]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 x 29 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BR1720.K52 S36 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Biography
BR1720.K52 S36 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BR1720.K52 S36 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

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Retells some of the legends of Saint Ciaran, or Kieran, an early Irish saint who loved nature and God before Christianity came to Ireland, journeyed to Rome to become a Christian, and returned to Ireland to live as a hermit, surrounded by animals.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. In the mouth-filling cadences of Gaelic, with some of the more difficult words made clear in context, Schmidt tells the story of the sixth-century Irish saint Ciaran (also spelled Kieran). Even as a child on the Isle of Clear, Ciaran's sweetness drew animals to him. But Ciaran himself is drawn to the East, praying "to the God whose name he did not know." He travels East and eventually arrives in Rome, where he finds God in the churches. St. Patrick sends him back to Ireland. He settles near a spring, and the animals--a doe (unaccountably drawn with antlers), a badger, a wolf, a fox--come to assist him in building a church. Soon people come, too, and a community is born. The sweet legends of Ciaran's life--the star that fell into his mother's mouth, the bell that rang when he reached his destination, and more--are woven into the story. Ciaran matures from beautiful boy to grizzled elder in Todd Doney's rich, fully realized oil paintings, rendered in a beautiful impressionist technique, with small brushstrokes that capture light, texture, and volume. A beautiful picture book for older children. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Profiling the sixth-century Saint Ciaran of Saighir, first saint of Ireland, Schmidt (The Blessing of the Lord) piles on more information and ideas than his picture book can hold. On the one hand, the whole of Ciaran's life story, as presented here, appears to be ideal subject matter--from the falling star his mother seemingly swallows before his birth, to the bell Saint Patrick gives him in Rome (it will peal only when Ciaran reaches "the flowing spring of Saighir"), to his fellowship with wild animals. But the individual components of the story demand more attention than Schmidt allots. The phrasing itself raises questions: the boy Ciaran prays "to a God whose name had never been heard in Ireland" and "to the God whose name he did not know." Ciaran is somehow drawn to Rome, but Schmidt stops short of stating that he is answering a calling; readers may wonder how or why "Ciaran's eyes looked to the east." While the mixture of legend, history and faith follows Irish tradition, most readers will be hard pressed to make sense of it. The presentation, however, is quite handsome. Doney's (Red Bird) slightly hazy oil paintings depict a rugged green countryside of unspoiled beauty. His use of bright and dappled sunlight and cool shadow gives depth to the scenes here. All ages. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 5-With muted tones and quiet words, this story tells the legend of Ciaran, the first Irish saint. Born years before Saint Patrick came to Ireland, he spent his youth praying to "the God whose name he did not know," and traveled to Rome as a young man. He returned to Ireland to build a hermitage at Saighir and was soon joined by a band of animals that followed him everywhere, even kneeling to pray with him. Eventually his hermitage became a monastery, as his name spread and more and more people traveled to see this holy man. While this saint's story is full of wonders (he was supposedly born from a star that flew down his mother's throat), Doney's stunning oils are the true marvels here. Suffused with light and brimming with color, these illustrations combine a sense of an unspoiled time gone by with one of utter immediacy. A gently moving tribute to a lesser-known saint.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, Eldersburg, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.