Monday 22 April 2024

Saint George Dragon Slayer - Jeannie Meekins - 15-Minute Books Book 613

Saint George: Dragon Slayer
15-Minute Books 613
Jeannie Meekins
Learning Island
eISBN 9781301421985

Saint George: Dragon Slayer - Jeannie Meekins

This is the third volume I have read in this series by this author. The first was excellent, the second was meh, this one is in the middle and is a pretty good read. I picked this up to read after reading Mary MacKillop: Australia's First Saint, from the same author in the same series. I enjoyed that first one so much, I picked up the eight volumes in the series about saints. As much as I loved that first one, I found second was a disappointment. Fortunately, this one turned the corner again.  I Prior to reading this I have read a number of biographies and other books about Saint George, both biographies and historical fiction. With that being said this volume was a decent read and I even learned a number of things. 

Jeannie Meekins according to amazon has over 120 unique titles geared for young readers. Many are biographies, some are in a Fun Facts Series, and other appear to be short fiction. This one I picked up because I loved another by the author in the series. This is part of a series tagged as 15-Minute Books, which are geared to get children reading for 15 minutes a day. 

The website is now defunct, but Learning Island when I checked the internet archive machine appears to have been a site with contributors from around the world. The oldest archived versions show books available for download in PDF format and exercises to go with the books. Later iterations of the site show link to purchase cheap eBook and later even print editions of the works. There are some numbered even into the1000’s. With the most recent being from early 2013 and numbered at 1014. But I only find 163 when I search Kindle. The description of this volume is:

“St George, defender of the helpless and slayer of dragons is a saint honored by many countries and many religions. He is as popular with Muslims and Jews as he is with Christians.

How could this happen? We know dragons never existed. How could someone be so well known and honored worldwide for something that could never have happened?

Find out about the life of this man who was said to have slain a dragon in this 15-minute biography.

Ages 8 and up.”

The description of the Series is:

“ believes in the value of children practicing reading for 15 minutes every day. Our 15-Minute Books give children lots of fun, exciting choices to read, from classic stories, to mysteries, to books of knowledge. Many books are appropriate for hi-lo readers. Open the world of reading to a child by having them read for 15 minutes a day.”

The sections in this booklet are:

Early Life
George the Roman Soldier
The Death of George
Since the Third Century
The Legends of St George
St George and the Dragon
Flag of St George
Blessings and Images

I highlighted a few passages while reading this volume. They are:

“St George, defender of the helpless and slayer of dragons is a saint honored by many countries and many religions. He is as popular with Muslims and Jews as he is with Christians.”

“There are slightly differing versions on George’s death. All versions agreed on these facts. George was tortured, refused to give up his faith, and was beheaded on April 23, 303. His body was buried in Lydda.”

“Soldiers at the Battle of Agincourt in 1425 believed they saw him fighting with the English. St George is also said to have appeared at the Siege of Antioch in 1098. Soldiers from both sides claim to have seen St George, St Mercurius and St Demetrius leading the crusaders into battle. St George was also seen at the Siege of Jerusalem in 1099. St George, along with St Paul and St Agata, were seen to protect the Maltese in their battle with the Moors in 1091. St George appeared to the Georgians during the Battle of Didgori in 1121, and again during the Georgian uprising against Persia in the eighteenth century. The Portuguese credit victory in the 1385 Battle of Aljubarotta to St George.”

“There are many different versions of the legend. This depends on the culture or country where the legend is told. All versions contain the same basic story: There was a town being terrorized by a dragon. A young princess was to be sacrificed to the dragon. George rode to the town, slew the dragon and saved the princess.”

“St George is patron saint of many countries. These are Aragon, Bulgaria, Catalonia, Egypt, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, India, Iraq, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine. He is the patron saint of over 26 cities, including the cities of Moscow, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, and of Lydda, the place of his burial. St George is also patron saint of archers, scouts, soldiers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, and riders and saddlers. He helps people who suffer from leprosy, plague and syphilis.”

This little booklet provided a wide range of information. There were some items I was unaware of such as: The fact that Saint George is described as a prophetic figure in Islamic sources. George is venerated by some Christians and Muslims because of his composite personality combining several biblical, Quranic and other ancient mythical heroes. I was also unaware of the wide range of countries and cities that George is the patron Saint of. 

I really enjoyed the first book I read in this series. This one was close. I have picked up a number in the series and will continue to read an review them. This was a good little introduction and for the intended audience would be a good read. But even in my 50’s I appreciated the book. I can recommend this book as a starting point for exploration of saint George, the man and the legends around his life. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan

Joan of Arc: The Girl Who Fought For France - Jeannie Meekins

Mary MacKillop: Australia's First Saint - Jeannie Meekins

Saint Francis of Assisi: The Patron Saint of Animals - Jeannie Meekins

Saint George: Dragon Slayer - Jeannie Meekins

Saint Patrick Ireland Beloved Saint - Jeannie Meekins

Saint Valentine: The Man Who Became the Patron Saint of Love - Jeannie Meekins

The Lives of Seven Saints - Jeannie Meekins

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