Brother Hugo can't return his library book -- the letters of St. Augustine -- because, it turns out, the precious book has been devoured by a bear! Instructed by the abbot to borrow another monastery's copy and create a replacement, the hapless monk painstakingly crafts a new book, copying it letter by letter and line by line. But when he sets off to return the borrowed copy, he finds himself trailed by his hungry new friend. Once a bear has a taste of letters, it appears, he’s rarely satisfied!
Brother Hugo and the Bear is loosely based on a note found in a twelfth-century manuscript -- and largely on the creative imaginings of author Katy Beebe. Lavishly illustrated by S. D. Schindler in the style of medieval manuscripts, this humorous tale is sure to delight readers who have acquired their own taste for books.
School Library Journal (STARRED review)
“Combines suspense, humor, and information in a handsome, entertaining package.”
Kirkus Reviews (STARRED review)
"Prepare to be charmed by a bear who loves words — or at least loves to eat them. . . . The rhythm of the text is antique but lucid and sweet, and the pictures, festooned with curlicues and decorated in shades of gold, gray and brown, echo the manuscript illuminations that inspired them. Rich backmatter gives all the historical background without detracting from the essential spark of the tale. . . . This accurate (if abbreviated) delineation of the process of medieval manuscript bookmaking shines thanks to the fey twist of ursine longing for the written word."
New York Times
“Interesting, wry and educational.”
Congregational Libraries Today
“Detailed illustrations in blues, golds and browns, with manuscript lettering, make for an attractive book and provide pleasure and meaning for children. . . . Brother Hugo gives renewed appreciation for words, writing and reading.”