Melinda Johnson and Kristina Tartara have done it again! This author and illustrator have again beautifully collaborated, pairing Melinda’s words with Kristina’s illustrations and bringing a saint’s story to life for young children. The result is St. Casilda Brings the Bread, Saint Vladimir Seminary Press’ most recent board book.
Casilda is curious. Why do the Christians love their God so much that they’re willing to stay in prison for their faith? What could be better than freedom? The only way she can learn the answer to her question is to go into the prison and ask them. Casilda decides that it would be nice to take the Christians some bread in exchange for their answers to her questions. She is not allowed to bring food into the prison, however, so she hides the bread in her billowing skirt, and makes her way to the prison.
What happens when the guards of the prison ask Casilda what she is carrying in her skirt? Do they let her in to see the Christians, lock her up, or send her away? Will Casilda ever have an answer to her question?
This charmingly illustrated book tells the tale with simple, rollicking verse. Melinda’s cleverly selected words succinctly convey the events with language that even young children can understand. And the use of rhyme will make multiple readings more fun, as children will begin to predict what word comes at the end of the page, so they can “read” that word, by themselves!
Kristina’s engaging drawings add depth and richness to the tale. Her color choices make a particular development in the story really pop, particularly in the context of the dreary jail. This reader especially likes how Kristina chose to portray St. Casilda’s elegance (and is a huge fan of seeking out the two little mice that make an appearance on almost every spread).
Readers of St. Casilda Brings the Bread will come away from the book encouraged to find ways to ask questions; to help those in need even when it may seem dangerous or impossible; and to pray, for their prayers are heard regardless of where or when they pray.
Purchase your copy of St. Casilda Brings the Bread here: https://svspress.com/saint-casilda-brings-the-bread/
Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts.