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Columcille was born in a remote corner of Ireland in the year 521 Legend has it that as a child he was fed a cake filled with the letters of the alphabet and so learned to love writing He grew up to become a monk and a scribe a thousand years before the invention of printing when books had to be copied by hand There was one book a beautiful volume of psalms from distant Rome that Columcille especially loved and even though its owner refused him permission Columcille secretly copied it The copy was discovered and a dispute arose over who it belonged to Columcille who made it or the owner of the original So better was the argument that a battle was fought between the two men's powerful friends; although Columcille's side won the victory felt hollow to him To punish himself he set out in a tiny boat vowing to leave Ireland forever A revered figure in Celtic history Columcille also known as Columbia founded the famous monastery on the Scottish island of Iona and left a legacy of learning that illuminated a corner of the Dark Ages History drama and a love of books and reading fill a story told here in exuisite watercolors and deflty understated prose by noted author and artist Don Brown

10 thoughts on “Across A Dark and Wild Sea

  1. says:

    I wanted to like this book I enjoyed the little historical background illustrations that showed how a coracle was constructed the order of strokes for the uncial alphabet and the steps in cutting a uill pen But puhleeze could we dispense with the depiction of the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages a period of ignorance and the shadow it cast over people's mind? That's such a tired old stereotype And despite the mention of monasteries and scribes the religious element of Columcille's story was totally excisedA better choice would be The Man Who Loved Books by Jean Fritz I blogged about it here

  2. says:

    This is a fascinating picture book biography of monk Columcille koll' m kill aka Saint Columba 521 597 He was a scribe responsible for transcribing than 300 books helping to rescue books and reading from obscurity during the Dark Ages It tells of his life in Ireland and then his self exile to Scotland I did not think the illustrations were all that appealing but the bio was great

  3. says:

    This is book that documents the life of Columcille He was born to an Irish king in 521 and was a well looked up to and known figure in Celtic history Learning reading and writing during this time were seen as something rare and not necessary Columcille loved to write and he became a monastery student and this was an inspiration and rare at that time Once a monk he scribed and was a poet before printing came along He was so remarkable because he was not only a prince but he was also a scribe and a poet as well He loved a book that was of psalms and secretly copied it when that was not allowed Once found there was a dispute of who the copy belonged to After a battle broke out between him and the original owner in which Columcille’s side won Although he won there was blood on his paper and he went against his pledge as a monk to life a life that was worthy He left the country and headed to the coast of Scotland where he continues his work of scribing He helped the world gain a love of books The book tells the story of this man but also describes the many things such as uill pens and parchment paper along the way that many students may be unaware of There is a good mixture of information on Columcille’s life as well as about the time he lived in

  4. says:

    this should be a charming book primarily about the childhood of st Columba And the illustrations are wonderful however i find it astonishing that anyone would refer to the 500's in Ireland as the dark ages and define it as the darkness of ignorance and the shadow it cast over people's minds and then proceed to talk about how monasteries were the repository of light education and writing And even though this is the life of a saint there is no mention of Columba's love for God or God's love of Columba No we are told Columcille the man who loved books helped the word love booksDo you think this is how Columba wants to be remembered? As my kids would say This is my dubious face

  5. says:

    Across a Dark and Wild Sea is about Columcille He is living in the Dark Ages in 1572 He is said to have ate a cake filled with letters of the alphabet and that is how he came to love writing There are hardly any books in the world at this time and Columcille is a script and makes written copies of books This informational picture book is a great source of information that grabs the reader and keeps them interested The illustrations are a little dull but they add to the text Across a Dark and Wild Sea does an excellent job teaching about the Dark Ages while telling a good story

  6. says:

    Similar to The Man Who Loved Books A downside to that similarity is the emphasis on being personally worthy to atone for one's sins I was also annoyed by the depiction of the Middle Ages as a time of widespread ignorance But I did like the emphasis on the treasure of and in books

  7. says:

    A great story of early Ireland and Columcille

  8. says:

    The book 'Across a Dark Wild Sea' by Don Brown follows the journey of a writer Columcille Columcille was born a very long time ago and rumor has it that when he was younger he was given cake with alphabetical letters in it The legend has it that this is what made Columcille so smart He grew up to be a monk and copied down writings for many many years Eventually Columcille gets in trouble for copying something he was not given the right to This eventually leads to him sailing away The book has a good storyline with in my opinion even better illustrations They are colored with rich dark grey and blue water colors I think this book should be read aloud to elementary aged students As a teacher you could use this book to explain how printing was invented and the aspects of copyright

  9. says:

    Across a Dark and Wild Sea was written and illustrated by Don Brown The illustrations were uniue and beautiful and went perfectly with the story The book was about Columcille and his journey through life He was a monk prince scribe bard and he was determined to create a copy of Finnian's book in order to have a copy for himself even though Finnian did not want him to After fighting bloodshed and victory Finnian was not satisfied but rather disappointed I thought this story told a great message that you should respect other people's wishes because even though you really want something it doesn't mean that you can have it or that you will be satisfied when you get it

  10. says:

    In conjunction with Story of the World Vol 2 I thought this was a nice picture book biography and view into life in the 6th century We are so tired of reading about wars in SotW and so to read about 3000 killed over a book was sickening Not that books aren't valuable But the truth hurts eh? Loved the watercolor illustrationsJust read from another reviewer that Jean Fritz has written a biography of him too 2 picture book biographies about this guy and I'd never heard of him We love Jean Fritz books so we'll check out the other one called The Man Who Loved Books