An exquisite new work that imagines a moment from the boyhood of St. Francis of Assisi. The publication of Maureen Hyde’s paintings in Francis Woke Up Early amounts to a cause célèbré. While she has illustrated many beautiful books in decades past (including Gingerbread House’s three launch titles, Grandpa Loved, Grandma’s Scrapbook, and Shh! The Whale Is Smiling), and many picture books and young adult novel covers for Simon & Schuster, Viking,  Green Tiger Press, and Atheneum, this marks the artist's first book in twenty-five years.

Her work in this volume derives power from years of studying in the USA and abroad, and from her efforts--first as a student and then a teacher--at a renowned classical academy in Italy. Even though Maureen employs the materials and techniques of the Old Masters, and draws inspiration from their ethic, one finds no hint of derivation in her compositions. Ms. Hyde's work has been exhibited in significant shows around the world, and is represented in many important private collections.

We think you’ll be enchanted by the extraordinary work this American artist has accomplished on Francis Woke Up Early. To us here, it represents Maureen’s rousing return to picture books, and it provides a stirring new masterpiece to the annals of children’s literature.


ForeWord Book of the Year Award Finalist

Green Book Festival Winner

Mom’s Choice Gold Award

Moonbeam Gold Book Award

Nautilus Book Award

National Indie Excellence Gold Book Award

Storytelling World Honor Award


Starred Review    “A beautiful marriage of author, illustrator, and subject is celebrated in this story... Hyde’s work... perfectly captures early morning light

in 13th century Assisi... The bordered paintings are filled with tender detail...

This exquisite book will make peaceful family reading.”    -Publishers Weekly

“...beautiful...heartfelt...”  -Kirkus Reviews

" are indeed compelling. A nicely done addition to collections that emphasize Catholic saints."    -School Library Journal

“Hyde’s lovely, soft-edged oil paintings lend a suitably dignified tone to the story, and the tension created by only seeing the wolf’s shadow until the climatic confrontation add an element of excitement to this ultimately calming and

peaceful read.”    -Booklist

“Gorgeous illustrations offer a window onto a sweeter world...”   

                                                                                                    -ForeWord Reviews

“An astonishing, beautifully illuminated book…a very believable rendering…The author has inhabited both the outward space and the child-saint's mind to come up with an ordinary, extraordinary tale. The narrative and the delicate, honey-shadowed, soft-hued illustrations complement each other seamlessly. Both the

hunger of the wolf and the hunger of the boy are very real experiences. Do they lead to a hunger for grace and compassion? A light is shed over all of Francis Woke Up Early that all children will perceive completely, with all their senses…a stunning

book meant to be shared with beloved children and treasured all their lives like a nugget of faith and hope.”

                                            -Children’s Bookwatch in The Midwest Book Review

“This adventure is whimsically illustrated... All ages will enjoy this story... will be a welcome addition to any children’s library.”    -Catholic Library World

“...enchanting book... Dramatic storytelling paired with brilliant illustrations fires imaginations both young and old, and will lead to many a discussion of the life of St. Francis... Each painting is a work of art worthy of framing...Francis Woke up Early will become a family favorite...”    -Catholic Media Review

Read what Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast;

A Blog About Books, has to say about Francis Woke Up Early

Foreign Language Editions





Author:  Josephine Nobisso

Illustrator: Maureen Hyde

Publisher: Gingerbread House

Trim Size: w 8.5" × h 12"  Hardcover w/ Dust Jacket; Paperback w/ Printed Flaps.

Pages: 32, Full Color, with Illustrated Ends

Ages: All (A "Cross-over" Picture Book for Both Children and Adults)

Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-940112-20-9

Hardcover Price: USA $17.95 / Canada $19.95 

Paperback ISBN: 978-0-940112-22-3

Paperback Price: USA $9.95 / Canada $10.95


Francis takes off for the barnyard to

collect some breakfast, but the wild she-wolf who has been threatening

his town shadows the boy.

What's the young Saint Francis

of Assisi to do?