Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Through the Year with Tomie DePaola

By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 15, 2023 | In Reviews

I received my copy of Through the Year with Tomie dePaola, published by Magnificat and Ignatius Press, and I’m just so thrilled! I haven’t been so excited about a new Liturgical Year/saints book in a long time! This book checks all my boxes.

Our family has been a huge fan of Tomie dePaola’s art; our sons were raised on his books. Our bedtime reading had so many of Tomie’s books, especially those connected with the saints and feasts of the Liturgical Year. We even went to a book signing in Middleburg when our oldest son was younger (it’s a terrible photo of my son, but it still captures the moment).

Over the years I followed Tomie’s Facebook account and his “Art Mail”. He shared small images of art celebrating special days for almost every day for several years until his death on March 30, 2020. I loved seeing the images of saints and other themes in my feed. I miss him, but it’s so wonderful that he lives on through his artwork. Since 2020, I’ve re-shared those images on Facebook throughout the year. I have always hoped that a book and/or calendar would be made to follow the Liturgical Year with Tomie’s Art Mail—and the book is now here!

Through the Year with Tomie dePaola is a hardcover book in such an inviting and portable size—8 3/4” tall by 6 3/4” wide, and includes an attached ribbon bookmark. The book follows the calendar year from January to December, and follows the current General Roman Calendar. The images by Tomie are the Catholic themed ones from his Art Mail.

The text accompanying the images is by Catherine Harmon and John Herreid. The Note from the Authors explains how this book is put together:

In collecting these wonderful little illustrations together, we composed short passages about the saints and feast days they represent, telling stories about the people and the traditions being celebrated. Some saints are men and women we know much about, with historical records giving all of the important facts about their lives. Other saints who lived long, long ago have pious legends about their lives that were told and retold over the centuries. And, of course, many important feasts such as Christmas have different traditions in different countries. We have recounted some of those traditions here as well.

While there isn’t an entry for every saint on the Liturgical Calendar, this book will be a great companion for following the Liturgical Calendar. There is a good variety and key highlights that really provide a feel of participation with the Church’s feast days.

The approach of presenting movable feasts within the book is done quite well, such as placing days of Holy Week between March and April, and the end of the Easter season and beginning of Ordinary Time between May and June. No fixed dates were necessary to include the feasts. Also, at the end of each month is a page that lists other important feasts in that month.

The short biographies could be read aloud to Elementary age (6-12) and older. The text is well-written, providing information that is interesting and inspiring but not overly simplified.

I highly recommend this book. It would make a great addition for your home, school or church library. My next wish is for a calendar filled with Tomie’s wonderful Art Mail images!

PS September 15 also happens to be Tomie dePaola’s birthday! He would be 89 today! Ignatius is having a birthday sale on all of Tomie’s books. To celebrate you can save 20% on all their Tomie books by using the code TOMIE20 at checkout at Ignatius’ website.

Jennifer Gregory Miller is a homemaker, mother, CGS catechist and authority on living the liturgical year, or liturgical living. She is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org’s liturgical year section. See full bio.

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