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Amelia Bentrup shares her review of a new picture book by Judith Bouilloc and Sara Ugolotti.  

Beautiful illustrations and a simple, gentle story grace the pages of The Garden of Wonders by Judith Bouilloc and Sara Ugolotti. Based upon the writing and illuminations of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, this delightful story introduces children to the wonder and majesty of God’s creation. 




Rica is a young child who has suffered from a mysterious illness for many years. Feeling anxious about an upcoming operation, she magically dives into a book of Saint Hildegard of Bingen’s illuminations and experiences an encounter with the saint herself. Through this encounter, Rica learns about the beauty of the natural world and God’s creation as well as her own beauty and likeness to God’s image.   

As both a mystic and a Doctor of the Church, the medieval Saint Hildegard is best known for her visions, writings, drawings, and study of herbs and plants along with her healing and holiness. In The Garden of Wonders, Judith Bouilloc and Sara Ugolotti introduce children to this amazing saint in a rather delightful way that will captivate children of all ages.  

Unfortunately, the book does not include copies of Saint Hildegard’s illuminations, however, they are described in an enchanting and vivid way that sparks the reader’s imagination. The illustrations, while simple, are lovely and soothing and enjoyable to look at.   

While the listed publisher’s age for this book is seven and up, younger children may enjoy looking at the pictures and hearing the story read aloud to them. This book is divided into eight short chapters, each of about one to two pages in length. The book could easily be read all in one sitting for older children or broken up into shorter reading sessions for younger children.   

My younger children and I enjoyed both reading this book together and perusing the gorgeous illustrations. It would make an excellent addition to any Catholic family’s picture book collection.   

Ask for The Garden of Wonders at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Ignatius Press.




Copyright 2023 Amelia Bentrup
Images: Canva
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