Sunday, January 27, 2019

Learn About 16 Amazing Saints & Their Awesome Animals

If you have children that enjoy love saints, animals, and visual feasts, then let me introduce you to a vibrant book and its companion coloring book.

{Disclosure: Some if the links which follow are affiliate ones. Should you click through them and make any purchase, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.}

In preparing to celebrate St. Verdiana's, St. Brigid's, and St. Blaise's feast days with my children on February 1 and 3, I pulled out my copies of Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals and its companion, the Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals Coloring Book. As soon as my daughter saw the books, she smiled, remembering how delightful these slim paperbacks are.

Heartwarming Stories about 16 Saints and Their Animal Friends

Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals opens with brief commentary about the compassion, respect, and affection shared between holy people and animals through the ages.

The book then gets right into the stories of 16 saints and their animal friends.  Each story is told briefly, but well on a 2-page spread that holds much visual appeal.

Then, end pages include the Prayer of Saint Francis for Animals, information about the author Sherry Boas and illustrator Maria Boas, followed by quick blurbs about other books offered through 
Caritas Press.

Over the time I have had the book, I have found myself taking it off the shelves many times and recommend it as one that is happily revisited.

One of the only things I wish was different about Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals is the order the saints are presented in.  As I use the book mostly on saint days, I would love for the saints to be in order by the month of their feast days.  Alternately, I would appreciate an index page in calendar order.  This is a large thing, though, and one I have "fixed" by making my own calendar order list:

  • February 1 - St. Verdiana and the Snakes
  • February 1 - St. Bridget and the Fox
  • February 3 - St. Blaise and the Wild Beasts 
  • February 13 - St. Modomnoc and the Bees
  • May 27 - Blessed Maria Bagnesia and the Cats
  • June 9 - St. Columba and the Horse
    June 13 - St. Anthony and the Donkey
  • July 11 - St. Benedict and the Raven
  • August 16 - St. Rocco and the Dog
  • September 1 - St. Giles and the Deer
  • September 18 - St. Joseph of Cupertino and the Lamb
  • September 30 - St. Jerome and the Lion
  • October 4 - St. Francis and the Wolf
  • October 16 - St. Gall and the Bear
  • November 3 - St. Martin de Porres and the Mice
  • November 17 - St. Hugh and the Swan

The companion Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals Coloring Book is handy to have, too. It includes 2-page, hand drawn, original artwork of each saint-animal combination contained in the storybook.  Each line-drawing is presented on single-sided sheets, which can be colored or painted right in the book without concern for the colors bleeding through and ruining a coloring page on a reverse side.  I appreciate this feature of the coloring book.

I would appreciate even more if the coloring book came with perforated pages and a copyright clause that allowed for reprinting for family or classroom use, or if a printable e-book version were sold.  Perhaps 
Caritas Press will consider these suggestions for future printings.

My Children's Thoughts

My youngest, at eight, said:

I like how the books focus on saints and animals.  One of my favorite pictures is the one with Saint Francis and the Wolf.  I would recommend these books for younger listeners because they aren't very intense and there are animal stories.
My daughter, 11, said:

I like the book.  The stories are simple and short and tell about saints and animals. I like how the stories are laid out on the pages with an old-fashioned open book that has more cartoony animals and people illustrated inside and more realistic animals and backgrounds around the edges.

I also like the coloring book because it goes so well with the saint book.  While Mom reads about a saint, I can color a picture that goes along with it.  The coloring pages are illustrated with simple, but fun pictures and fancy, illuminated words.

My oldest, 13, appreciates the books, too.  He said:

The book has a good selection of stories in it with different saints and animals. Some of the saints are familiar, like St. Francis of Assisi and St. Martin de Porres, and some are not, like St. Rocco and S. Gall.  The saints also come from different time periods.
I think the coloring book art is pretty simple, but good for little kids and fun. I'd recommend these books to people who like animals.  
I would have liked them a lot when I was younger.  Now, we use them for saint days. 

I love that the succinct, yet engaging stories in
Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals and the ready-to-go coloring pages in the companion Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals Coloring Book make learning about and celebrating the saints super easy.

Whether you have young children, animal lovers, or are just looking for quick, easy-to-read saint stories for a class or morning time selection, Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals is worth a look.

Learn More

Both Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals and its companion Coloring Book, obviously, are helpful resources for living the liturgical year on particular saint days and will hold appeal for young children.  Some other times the books might be great to pull off your shelf are:

  • on St. Francis of Assisi's feast day as he is a patron to animals.
  • when seeking inspiration for art projects, because the anime-style line drawings in the coloring book show how saints can be depicted in modern styles while the page designs in the storybook can prompt the creation of vibrant collages.
  • when focusing on virtues, because many are apparent in the stories.
  • when planning a co-op class. You could consider making a class session based on each saint-animal combination.  Doing so would allow students to enjoy cross-curricula learning, learning science about the animal, geography and history related to the saints, virtues, etc.
  • doing unit studies on particular animals, saints, or locations.
  • when discussing illuminated manuscripts, since the lettering of each saint story title is reminiscent of this style.
  • when looking for saint reading for young readers.  For, although the font the stories are written in is on the largeer side, the length of the stories is just right for young readers.
  • when researching saints or writing reports on them, since the short stories are engaging and contain interesting facts that could make strong jumping off points.

Undoubtedly, there are plenty of other times that Amazing Saints & their Awesome Animals and its companion Coloring Book could be enjoyed as well. 

Caritas Press publishes a host of other wonderful faith-focused books, including:

 Saint John Bosco and His Big Gray Dog which I previously reviewed, and which would be perfect to read on January 31, the feast day of S. John Bosco

the fuEncyclopedia of Peg Saints which I previously reviewed

Jackie's Special Halloween which I previously reviewed

I encourage you to check out other fiction, non-fiction, rosary books, and children's books from Caritas Press at their website, or they have an expanding line of Catholic and pro-life books with a wonderful mission:
"...shedding light on things eternal in a culture that is becoming increasingly blind to the wonders of God’s works and numb to his boundless love. Making use of the subtle and the beautiful.. to play a part in igniting in children and adults a desire to know God more fully."

Caritas Press can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.

{Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of these books along with a book I requested for review.  Pleased by the books, I decided to write an honest review of them.  I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions expressed are my own of those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.}


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