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Reviewed by:
  • Joan of Arc
  • Elizabeth Bush
Demi. Joan of Arc; written and illus. by Demi. Cavendish, 2011. 52p. Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-7614-5953-8 $19.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-7614-5999-6 $19.99 Ad Gr. 3–5.

Demi recounts the tale of the fifteenth-century teen who, at the urging of heavenly voices, became military champion of the French dauphin in the Hundred Years’ War and witnessed his coronation as King Charles VII, and who was, upon her capture by the Burgundians, ultimately abandoned to her fate (burning at the stake) by the king. The success of Demi’s narrative depends largely on a reader’s expectations. There is little attempt to examine and explain the political web in which Joan would be ensnared (for that, see Diane Stanley’s picture book Joan of Arc, BCCB 9/98), the church/state relations that influenced her story from inquisition to canonization, or even the nature of her visions of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch, of whose very existence the Church is now most skeptical. Although this title lacks the solidity to earn it a place in the 900s, it may certainly find a home in the 200s as a reverent retelling of Joan’s long-standing legend. Opulent borders in the tradition of medieval illuminated manuscript are liberally embellished with Demi’s signature gold, with plenty of space on the faux-vellum pages to accommodate brief spans of text. Collections that support materials for young patrons’ “saint reports” will welcome this title, which respects the authority of Joan’s preternatural mandate and finds cause for triumph in her tragedy.



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