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We’ve been making great use of this striking coloring book, from the Hillside Education imprint. This isn’t so much a coloring book in the usual sense as simply a book of reproducible coloring pages, which feature intricate stained-glass-effect images of saints for every month of the year.

Designed to pair with Catholic Mosaic: Living the Liturgical Year With Literature, Fenestrae Fidei nevertheless stands perfectly well on its own. Our class has adopted Saint Benedict as our patron saint for the year, so I made thirty copies of the Saint Benedict page, and he keeps sixty hands constructively busy as people come straggling in of a Sunday morning. The design is refreshingly manly, or at least un-holy-cardish — not that I don’t like holy cards myself, but I think boys sometimes find the images a bit too rosy-cheeked. These patterns are intricate enough to keep seven-year-olds, boys and girls alike, happily engaged for as long as you’ll let them keep coloring. We’d been coloring Saint Benedict for quite a while before anyone noticed the chalice and serpent worked into the design.

We have a bulletin board at the back of our classroom where we’ll be collecting bits and pieces of Saint-Benedict-iana throughout the year; yesterday I spent a good half-hour poster-puttying thirty “stained-glass” Saint Benedicts to the wall around it, to make a frame. The effect is remarkably beautiful: it’s thirty of the same picture, yet each one’s unique. I can’t wait for the kids to walk in on Sunday and see it.

I’m going to keep feeding them these saints’ pictures over the next month. My vision is that we’ll amass lots of them by All Saints, and arrange them around an image of the Holy Trinity to represent the Communion of Saints before the throne of God. We have lots of windowless, paneled wall to work with . . .

Anyway, another highly-recommended resource. Each saint’s picture, by the way, is accompanied by a brief biography on the facing page, so the children know who it is that they’re coloring.

More good things from Hillside:

My eleven-year-old enjoyed Sword of Clontarf, an historical adventure novel set in medieval Ireland, and Madeleine Polland’s novel of ancient Rome, City of the Golden House.

Though he’d already read the original, we both thought that Hillside’s Father Brown Reader looked like a high-quality introduction to Chesterton’s deceptively simpleminded sacerdotal sleuth.

With at least one Latin enthusiast in my house, I’m interested in Hillside’s Latin Reader project as well.

There’s plenty more to like at Hillside, but I’m fixin’, as we say around here, to hustle everyone into clean clothes and then into the van, so that we can fetch Daddy from work, find dinner someplace, and locate a parking space in Charlotte by seven tonight. A good weekend to all.

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