Joan was an innocent French farm girl of thirteen when heavenly voices called to her and gave her the courage to fight for her king. She would leave her home, cut her hair and dress like a man, and journey far and wide to fight for her noble cause. But even after Joan was captured and about to be put to death by her enemies, she remained true to her beliefs and died holding on to a simple cross. She would later become one of the most revered of all saints and a heroine to young and old alike. This is the enthralling true story of Joan of Arc told by gifted storyteller Josephine Poole and magnificently illustrated by award-winning artist Angela Barrett in what is sure to be one of the finest, most beautiful picture books of the year. Included are end-paper maps and a chronology of events for readers to follow Joan on her quest.
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"This is a true story," Josephine Poole proclaims, as she begins to weave her lovely picture-book biography of Joan of Arc. "It happened over 500 years ago, in France." Children, of course, are immediately hooked--especially when the truth unfolds into a story as mystical, timeless, and exquisitely written and illustrated as this one. Rather than bog the narrative down with excessive political and military details, Poole aims straight for the heart of faith in this amazing story about a 13-year-old girl who hears divine voices. When she is still but a teenager, the "Voices" compel her to lead an army of soldiers and save the king of France. Award-winning illustrator Angela Barrett ( The Emperor's New Clothes) paints with springy grass greens and lamb whites to portray the early innocence of Joan the farm girl. But when she is transformed into Joan of Arc, Barrett surrounds her with the murky colors of war and the grim grays of death. Likewise, the face of Joan transforms from a girlish visage to that of a young warrior woman, besieged with grief for those who have died in war. And when Joan of Arc is to be burned, Barrett once more transforms Joan into an adult woman illuminated by the protection of belief. Poole and Barrett both resisted the temptation (as others have not) to insert religious agendas when portraying Joan of Arc's conversation with the Voices and her reported conversation with the archangel Michael after she was betrayed and imprisoned in a castle. As a result, the story becomes even more authentic and spiritually satisfying, especially when Joan is burned into an eternal star: "A saint is like a star. A star and a saint shine forever." (Ages 7 and older) --Gail HudsonFrom the Back Cover:
"The story of the Maid of Orléans shows no sign of diminishing its luster after 500 years, and Poole gives it its full dramatic due . . . treating Joan respectfully but simply, generally allowing her most unusual life to speak for itself. Barrett's illustrations echo art ranging from the Unicorn Tapes-tries to Dürer, showing Joan . . . amid glories of natural beauty and richly colored court and military scenes. With its focus on the story for the story's sake, this will make an alluring introduction to Joan for younger listeners as well as those reading the legend on their own."--The Bulletin
"Notable, memorable, and compelling." --The Horn Book Magazine, Starred
"Libraries should try to find room on their shelves for [this] fine volume."--Booklist, Starred
"Because the treatment is of a saint rather than a hero, both text and images have a certain still quality, all the better to pore over. This is a good introduction to Joan." --Kirkus Reviews
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