Mary Stolz; Pamela Johnson Pangur Ban

ISBN 13: 9780060258627

Pangur Ban

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9780060258627: Pangur Ban

Fifteen-year-old Cormac, longing to fulfill his artistic inclinations, leaves his family farm in ninth-century Ireland and joins a monastery, where he creates an illuminated manuscript to be treasured by generations to come.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 11 Up A quiet, almost contemplative story. Ninth-Century Ireland has little tolerance for artists, as young Cormac knows. Yet he can no more give up his hidden paints and quill than his father can stop trying to thrash and goad him into becoming a proper farmer's son. So it goes, the gentle Cormac's desire for learning and envy of the monks in the nearby abbey kept secret until the day that his father, in frustration and anger, hands him over to them. There, although he tries to explain quite honestly that he has no true calling to God, he and his cat, Pangur Ban, find the only possible home for an artist of genius. In time he writes a life of St. Patrick and manages to hide it safely from the invading Vikings. Readers never learn what happens to Cormac, nor the now-old Pangur Ban, but his story is found in the 12th Century by another young monk who hopes to be an illuminator. The mores of the 9th Century and the problem are well presented, and Stolz' prose is lovely, often lyrical. Yet, Cormac's difficulties are curiously muffled by the early discussion of his problems and his almost philosphical awareness of them, making the story less immediate and involving. Sara Miller, White Plains Public Library, N.Y.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Cormac knows he isn't suited to be a farmer like his father; he loves to draw, and dreams of learning to read and write. But in the harsh world of 9th century Ireland, the monastery is the only place where such a life is possible. So he rejoices when Abbot Maher accepts him as an oblate. As a professed monk 17 years later, Cormac is hard at work creating a book on the life of Saint Patrick. When Viking raiders are sighted off the coast, he hides the manuscript in the woods, where for three centuries it lies undiscovered until another young monk stumbles upon it. This quietly rewarding tale will leave readers with a vivid impression of the world before the arrival of the printing press. Although Cormac sometimes seems a bit too good to be true (he is talented, nonviolent and perhaps his era's only feminist) he is on the whole an appealing character. More important, he is one of the heroes in the battle to keep learning alive. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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