An exquisite work that imagines a moment from the boyhood of St. Francis of Assisi. The publication of Maureen Hyde’s paintings here amounts to a cause célèbré. While she has illustrated many beautiful books in decades past (including Gingerbread House’s three launch titles, Grandpa Loved, Grandma’s Scrapbook, and Shh! The Whale Is Smiling), and many picture books and young adult novel covers for Simon & Schuster, Viking, Green Tiger Press, and Atheneum, this marks the artist’s first book in twenty-five years. Her work in this volume derives power from years of studying in the USA and abroad, and from her efforts–first as a student and then a teacher–at The Florence Academy of Art in Italy. Even though Maureen employs the materials and techniques of the Old Masters, and draws inspiration from their ethic, one finds no hint of derivation in her compositions. Ms. Hyde’s work has been exhibited in significant shows around the world, and is represented in many important private collections. The paintings for this volume have been acquired by a revered school in Switzerland.
Francis Woke Up Early**