Katherine Paterson, daughter of missionaries, and wife of a minister, has always had a particular and ecumenical sensitivity to themes of the spiritual and to matters of religion. She has made these subjects accessible to a broad readership that spans generations. Her voice provides a deeply appropriate medium for us to hear Francis of Assisi's words anew. Pamela Dalton's remarkable gift is to infuse a decorative folk art with the emotional depth and richness of the finest children's book illustrations-combining the naivete of the old Amish technique of Scherenschnitte ('scissor cutting') with a highly trained, profoundly experienced painterly style. Her style perfectly matches the tone of Saint Francis' hymn: a balance of almost stark simplicity with a richly colored celebration of the multiplicity of life. Saint Francis' austere but loving message was radical and galvanizing in its time-founding a religious order that profoundly influenced the course of Western History. That message resonates ever more clearly today in an age of simultaneous excess and economic retrenchment.