Cover image for Illuminations
Hunt, Jonathan, 1966-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Bradbury Press, [1989]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 31 cm
General Note:
In red cloth with gilt stamping; decorative endpapers; pictorial dust jacket.

2nd printing.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RBR ELLIS ABC 1989.H8 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Rare Books-Appointment Needed
ND2920 .H86 1989 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"From alchemist to zither, Hunt explains things Arthurian in easily understood words and detailed, often dramatic ink-and-watercolor paintings evocative of medieval illuminated manuscripts. . . . This (book) will pique the interest of readers and serve as a handy companion to contemporary fictional retelling of Arthurian lore".--Publishers Weekly. Full color.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-4. Hunt uses the alphabet as a framework to explore the medieval age. Each letter introduces a term that is explained in an illuminated paragraph and illustrated with a striking line-and-wash drawing. Alchemy, Black Death, Coat of Arms, Dragon, and Excalibur typify Hunt's word choices. His explanations are clearly written and straightforward but make little concession to younger children. Definitely for older readers, this picture book is rich with detailed, often dramatic illustrations, which supply simple facts about each object or event. An author's note comments on some of the artwork and encourages youngsters to learn more about the era and Arthurian legends. Eye-catching on its own, this will also support units on the Middle Ages, especially for children not able to tackle more-complicated texts. --Denise Wilms

Publisher's Weekly Review

From Alchemist to Zither, this medieval alphabet book glows with ornately illuminated letters and decoration; the text, describing such uncommon entries as Excalibur, Portcullis and Villein, is a virtual history lesson in itself. All ages. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-- Using an alphabet book format, Hunt shares his love of the lifestyle, symbols, and artistry of the Middle Ages. Three-quarter-page watercolor paintings, outlined with black pen, illustrate a wide variety of subjects ranging from the Black Death to unicorns. While Hunt is successful in conveying his own enthusiasm for the period, the span of time covered and the skimpy information given will do little to aid children's understanding of this rich and diverse period. The choice of subjects is idiosyncratic, and ideas do not build upon one another. Legendary ``Arthurian'' characters and mythical symbols are mixed at random with flat-footed definitions of terms such as quintain and wattle and daub. Although the text states that dragons, unicorns, and ``Excalibur'' are legendary, the difference will escape many young readers. The descriptions are frustratingly brief, often hinting at stories untold. The full-color illustrations are dramatic and use many of the rich colors of the period. However, Hunt's attempt to recreate the format of illuminated manuscripts falls short. The large scale of the illustrations overwhelms the slim decorative borders, and cleverly designed capital letters barely hint at the beautiful calligraphy that would have dominated a medieval text. The books listed in the bibliography are primarily for adults, and the ideas illustrated would have most appeal to children with some basic knowledge of history. Both the alphabet format and brief text will be disappointing to them, yet the book lacks the coherent structure necessary for an introduction for younger children. Young readers are better served by David Macaulay's Castle (Houghton, 1977) or Anno's Medieval World (Philomel, 1980) .--Eleanor K. MacDonald, Beverly Hills Pub . Lib . (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.