In this book, young readers encounter a Russian hermit who has to solve a problem: he has run out of food. In the end, and with a little help from some friendly fishermen, he manages to fill his cups.
Other board books by SVS Press: Saint Ia Rides a Leaf
About the Author and Illustrator:
Melinda Johnson is an Orthodox Christian, wife, and mother. She loves writing for children and has authored several books, including the Sam and Saucer series, and Saint Ia Rides a Leaf.
Kristina Tartara is an Orthodox mom, children's book author, and illustrator. She has illustrated several books and also created the board books, What Do You See at Liturgy, What Can I Do at Divine Liturgy, and Saint Ia Rides a Leaf.
This board book begins to fill the void of Orthodox board books with male protagonists. While there’s been an increase in Orthodox board books over the last few years (largely thanks to Melinda Johnson), most of them have described female saints. I was excited to see this one describes the life of a male saint.
The girls have enjoyed this book for a few months now. The pictures are vibrant, and the story is short, sweet, and clear. My favorite page is near the end and shows why this book is perfect for fall—apples, bread, fish, and knitwear—it’s really perfect. With the pictured containers of food, a great extension activity for Littles would be sorting play food (or real food!) into baskets by type, color, etc.
Synopsis: "Saint Eleazar Fills His Cups" by the team of author/storyteller Melinda Johnson and artist/illustrator Kristina Tartara, is a board book story in which young readers encounter a Russian hermit who some 400 years ago went to Anzersk Island to live alone with God. But he encounters a serious problem -- he has run out of food. In the end, God answered his pray and with a little help from some friendly fishermen, he manages to fill his cups.
Critique: Beautiful artwork supports an engaging story that is especially recommended for family, daycare, preschool, community library board book collections, and children of the Orthodox Christian community ages 2-5.
This sweet book operates on more than one level. My 4 year old reported that she loved the pictures, and that she really liked how Eleazar's cup is filled - though she wondered where he got all the wood for his carving. My 8 year old stated that she really thought it was a good book because she could read and understand it, and she identified that the artwork was detailed enough that even non-readers would know and understand what was happening. My older children enjoyed it, and also wondered why St. Eleazar would go to an island without everything he needs - which opened up a great discussion about faith and trust and caring for one another. This is a precious book, great as a gift for any child and enjoyable by the whole family.
My whole family loved this sweet board book! It’s a perfect gift for a little one’s baptism or other special occasion. The story is easy to read and contains beautiful imagery as well as a beautiful message of God’s generosity. My older girls (7 and 9 year olds) immediately wanted to learn how to carve wood like St. Eleazar and my younger girls (3 and 5) loved all the sweet illustrated animals. Definitely recommend adding this story to your collection!
we love Melinda Johnson's little board books!
Melinda and Kristi have created beautiful work again! Their collaboration has brought us a beautiful board book filled with gorgeous illustrations of a lone monk, St. Eleazar, who travels to an island to live in solitude with God, but quickly runs out of food. This charming little story is packed full of meaningful lessons for children and because it is about a lesser-known saint, perhaps it will encourage children to learn more about this saint and others that are rarely spoke of. As I mentioned earlier, there are so many powerful lessons that can be taught from this book! Trusting in God that He will provide, speaking and praying to Him, and filling other people's cups with their needs, are just a few of the lessons children will learn. So much in one little book!
The illustrations are just as important as the story and lessons themselves. Kristi managed to show so much expression in all the characters and animals and they bring the story alive! Just like, St. Ia Rides a Leaf, Kristi included many animal companions that children can search for!
This story would be the perfect addition to church libraries and teachers of Sunday school, a church bag for small children during services, and of course in your own home libraries. In addition, this book would make a PERFECT gift for any small child! I look forward to seeing more collaborations from Melinda and Kristi and hope to learn more about other lesser-known saints!
*I was given a book for an honest review.
This delightful board book tells the story of Saint Eleazar of Anzerks Island at Solovki (reposed 1656). Although Orthodox for many years, I had not heard of this saint. I appreciate this book for several reasons. I love that they chose to create a book about a lesser known saint, which is instructive for adults and kids alike. I also love the tiny details in the illustrations: the Trisagion prayer on the monk's hood, the little flowers he's pressing in the open book on his table, the foxes and seals that show up often. These little critters remind us that we are never totally alone, even when we think we are: God is with us, and he sends companionship in small but meaningful ways. The faces are very expressive throughout. Children will appreciate these details. These also add more detail to the story without using additional words. After my first reading of the book, I paused to think about it. I was very much struck by Saint Eleazar's active requests to God for what he needed. He carved empty cups and put them out with faith, waiting for them to be filled. This provides a very real object lesson for grownups and kids to bring our needs before God, to verbalize them and trust that God will meet those needs in his own way. I drew little cups on a piece of paper and jotted notes about things I need in my life right now - and I could see this being a fun activity for children as well and a helpful lesson about prayer. And, of course, the beautiful lesson that we are blessed when we give is the final ending to this sweet story. The fisherman helped Saint Eleazar; afterward, God filled their nets to bursting. I greatly recommend this lovely book and can't wait to share it with the children (and adults) in my life. Thank you, Melissa and Kristina!
Another delightful collaboration from Melinda and Kristina with SVS press. I read this to my 17 month old, but the 7 and 5 year olds were equally interested in the illustrations and miracle of Saint Eleazar’s cups.
I appreciated the message of mutual blessings from God, when we help each other and ask for God’s mercy.
I would recommend this book to any Orthodox family, excellent for bedtime reading, liturgy bags, and church school lessons with little ones.
I appreciated also that I was not familiar with Saint Eleazar and have now learned more about this hermit saint with my older kids.
Baby Daniel was immediately drawn to the illustrations with the sea and stayed engaged while we were reading.
An excellent edition to a parish lending library or home board book collection. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
So thankful to have Orthodox children's books like this one available for my son! Love the story and the wonderful art style.