Title: The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane
Author: C. M. Millen
Illustrator: Andrea Wisnewski
Concepts: human resources, innovation
Review: Like other monks at the monastery, Brother Theophane sat at his desk copying text from scholarly materials onto brown parchment using brown ink. The work, all done by hand, proved tedious, and Theophane fought the boredom by feeding crumbs to the birds in the windowsill and scribbling poems on scraps of paper. His imaginative streak yielded greater returns when, asked to cook up more brown ink, he experimented with other ingredients from the woods and created a range of hues. The monks could henceforth enhance their copying work with colorful sketches and designs.
Based on actual practices of copying books during medieval times, this picture book has both a unique story and exuberant illustrations. It also presents an interesting economics lesson about how innovation can make people better off. Children will see how thinking in unconventional ways can lead to interesting outcomes even in unexpected places.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children