Book review: Francesco, Artist of Florence – The Man Who Gave Too Much by Anita Mathias

This is a spiritual book aimed at children but can be enjoyed by adults alike. It takes the form of a very simple story about an artist who works in Florence making beautiful boxes from precious stones.

This is a real family book. There is a rich vein of situations in the book that make good discussion points for children, whether it is love, greed, family priorities or forgiveness.

Adults can think about the messages of the story, which as the story is a good parable are many.

Small children will just love the illustrations.

I wonder if this book should be called the man who loved too much. At its heart It is a book about love. Love of art and beauty and love of a family, and someone who loves so much he always puts others ahead of himself.

It is a story of someone who sees the true value of money and puts relationships and beauty above gold coins. This does get him in trouble with his family though and his neighbours think he is foolish and mock him for his generosity.

This is an unusual book that can be read in the time it takes to have a cup of tea. But to rush through the book is to do it an injustice. I read it and then went back to reread it savouring the images that glow from every page. For the illustrations are as much a part of the story as the words.

Artist of Florence is a small book that you will want to hang on to and look at again and again.

If you are interested in the work of Anita Mathias she blogs about faith and art at where you can find links to her other books.

Francesco, Artist of Florence: The Man Who Gave Too Much by Anita Mathias, ISBN 978-1-78139-417-5. is published by Benediction Classics, Oxford and is available from online bookstores in hardback format for £3.99 or in e-reader format.

Last modified on Monday, 23 June 2014 05:43