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Caedmon's Song    by Ruth Ashby & Bill Slavin order for
Caedmon's Song
by Ruth Ashby
Order:  USA  Can
Eerdmans, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

This old story follows the journey of a cowherd named Caedmon, who lived in seventh century England. Although he lived in an abbey, he was not a monk. Most people were illiterate at that time, and expressed themselves instead by singing poetry.

Caedmon was ashamed because, unlike many of his countrymen, he could not recite any poetry. One day, he got so tongue tied when he was trying to create a song that he ran out of the building where everyone was gathered, and sat outside in the cold moonlight. Soon, he fell asleep and dreamed he sang a song praising God.

He remembered his dream when he awoke, and told the abbess, who believed he had received a gift from God. Caedmon ultimately became England's oldest known poet, even though he had once expressed, 'There is no poetry in me.'

The book, with its riveting language, celebrates a bygone era when storytelling reigned, and poetry was everyman's language.

The author's note at the end of the book further enlightens the reader about Caedmon's background. It is a good way to introduce older children to history, religion, and poetry, all rolled up into one. Bill Slavin's illustrations are bold and vibrant, and truly capture the feel of an ancient time period.

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