Thursday, May 20, 2010

St. Elizabeth of Hungary by Br. Ernest C.S.C

In this charming, simple story, we are introduced to St. Elizabeth, beginning with her birth and covering her complete life. Clearly, the style is written for younger children. "She was born in a big castle in Hungary way back in 1207--a long, long time ago!" Although the story is written for younger children, the language and storyline are not watered down, touching on the important events in her life as well as addressing the problems she encountered. "Soon some of the members of the court began to spread rumors against the princess." Throughout the story, vignettes of her sanctity are revealed in both the dialogue and the narrative. "When they got to the church door, Elizabeth stopped and took off her crown. 'I cannot wear a crown of gold and jewels when Jesus, my King, wears a crown of thorns!'"

St. Elizabeth presents a realistic portrait of a saint, who sought to follow God's will for her vocation in a balanced way. "These children required much of Elizabeth's time, but no matter what else there was to be done, they came first."

Even though it is written for young children, the story is engaging for all ages: no sugar coating of the realities she underwent, yet holds the attention of the reader until the end. Originally, there were several hundred Dujarie books, hopefully many more will be reprinted.

The popular Dujarie saint series from the 40s, 50s and 60s is back in print. There are two recommended reading levels: 1st level, 2nd gr. and up; 2nd level, 4th gr. and up. Saint Elizabeth is the first reading level. Some of the vocabulary is not typical for 2nd grade, e.g."expression of veneration." Since most 2nd graders are not proficient at reading, some will prefer to have the book read aloud.

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