cover image Joan of Arc: The Lily Maid

Joan of Arc: The Lily Maid

Margaret Hodges. Holiday House, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1424-6

Compared to Diane Stanley's intellectually challenging Joan of Arc or to Josephine Poole and Angela Barrett's ardent, spiritual Joan of Arc, Hodges's (Saint George and the Dragon) retelling of the saint's story seems flat. She sets out the main events of Joan's life, from Joan hearing the voice of Saint Michael to her stoic battles against the English to her trial and martyr's death. Hodges skips over much, relegating key information--including the charges at Joan's trial--to an endnote. What makes this book worthwhile is Rayevsky's (Bernal & Florinda) suggestive, atmospheric art. Set into tall pages bordered by rules of scarlet, his prints--dry-point and etchings--evoke medieval paintings and drawings. He stays away from the lavish style of such works as the Tr s Riches Heures, and takes a relatively humble approach, more Bayeux Tapestry than ornate illuminated manuscript. His perspectives and modeling are generally flattened in a medieval style and his colors look muted or faded. While his compositions are not entirely consistent in their appropriation of medieval conventions, they successfully convey the flavor, and their restraint and modesty draw attention to Joan's identity as a peasant girl who became a hero of the people. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)