For Lent: 3 new books about monks

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Brother Giovanni’s Little Reward: How the Pretzel was Born by Anna Egan Smucker; illustrated by Amanda Hall
My mom told me a variation of this story when she showed me how to make pretzels as a kid.  Brother Giovanni, the baker at the monastery, is trying to get a bunch of rambunctious children to learn their prayers.  If you try the recipe at the end of the book, you’ll see why the smell of fresh-baked pretzels is such a great motivator!

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Brother Hugo and the Bear by Katy Beebe; illustrated by S. D. Schindler
If a bear ate your library book, you might find it pretty hilarious.  Brother Hugo was maybe a bit too much of a wise guy when he reported the loss to his abbot, so he’s assigned the penance of replacing the book– from scratch.  The notes at the end of the book say that it was inspired by actual events.

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The White Cat and the Monk: A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán” by JoEllen Bogart; illustrated by Sydney Smith
Ms. Wendy told me about the poem “Pangur Bán” when we were discussing the movie The Secret of Kells (which features a cat by the same name, and some Irish monks, and some magic).  It’s a poem written long ago by a monk, comparing his own work seeking knowledge in books to his cat hunting mice.  The book won’t be released until mid-March, but this blog gives you a sneak peek at the illustrations.  Pangur Bán’s name refers to his white fur, and I like that the artist chose to give the monk petting the cat white hair, too.

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