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|Smudge and the book of mistakes : a Christmas story|
Author: Whelan, Gloria
In Ireland in the Middle Ages, young Brother Cuthbert, known for making mistakes and giving up easily, is chosen through a miscommunication to serve as scribe for an illuminated manuscript of the Nativity story, through which the Abbot hopes to make the monastery famous.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 155235
Kirkus Reviews (09/01/12)
School Library Journal (10/01/12)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2012 Gr 2–5—A talented but easily frustrated young man is transformed by the encouragement and belief of the right mentor. Like many boys, Cuthbert is impatient, lacks discipline, and doesn't like making mistakes. After his annoyed father sends him to a monastery, he ends up in the scriptorium, where he earns the name "Smudge" for his poor skills. When he is mistakenly assigned to do the lettering for the Christmas story, everyone is sent into a tizzy except for master illuminator Brother Bede, who sees some talent in the boy and takes the time to encourage him to practice. Eventually the two create a masterpiece. Whelan's prose makes the long blocks of text flow like water and includes fun details (like the monks taking their yearly bath in preparation for Easter). Costanza's illustrations have the look and feel of animated movie art, which adds humor to what is essentially an apprenticeship tale. A lengthy read-aloud for parent/child sharing, but one that could be inspirational for the right listener.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/01/2012 Young Cuthbert, small for his age of 15, is sent to a monastery because his father thinks he would be hopeless as a warrior. But when he is sent to the scriptorium, Cuthbert couldn’t be happier. He loves forming letters, though he always smudges the ink, earning him the nickname of “Smudge.” By mistake, Smudge is chosen, rather than the greatest scribe in Ireland, to illuminate the Christmas story—a proud endeavor that will make the monastery famous. Can messy Smudge make it perfect? Under Brother Gregory’s tutelage, Smudge practices his letters over and over, but he makes a mistake in the letter B as he is about to finish the manuscript. Thankfully, Brother Gregory rescues the parchment by demonstrating how “to make an opportunity of your mistake” by drawing a flower inside the B. Meditative, earth-toned illustrations alternate between full-bleed and bordered pages resembling those of ornate Bibles. The tale is fictional, but the dual messages of “practice makes perfect” and “we all make mistakes” ring true. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.