I really enjoyed reading A Gift for Matthew by Nick Muzekari. We join Matthew (age not given, but around 9-11 years would be my guess) for a day at a nearby monastery where he helps Brother Justin in the various steps of writing an icon. I liked the fact that the steps in mixing the paint (ok, I didn’t know how egg tempera was made!), transferring the sketch to the board, etc. were not only explained in a just-enough-detailed fashion, but also placed in the context of the Church’s Tradition. My 12 year old read it and liked it, although he felt it was a bit young for him. I read it to my 8 year old (explaining some of the words) and he enjoyed it and learned a lot. The not-quite-2 year old enjoyed the pictures of the kitty. 🙂
The illustrations by Masha Lobastov are beautiful and really enhance the story. I do like the fact that the monastery could be placed anywhere, not just in one part of the world.
A Gift for Matthew would make a lovely addition to your child’s Orthodox book library, or for reading-aloud to a church school class. I hope it will play a part in encouraging budding iconographers.
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review, but my review is honest! My thanks to Nick Muzekari for sending it to me!]