During the Dark Ages, monks in medieval monasteries painstakingly copied the Bible and other scholarly works by hand, writing on parchment or vellum with inks made from boiled tree bark. Author Millen imagines a young monk who experiments with other natural materials to create the first brightly colored inks. The story is told in rhymed text. Interspersed with the author's narrative are English translations of genuine medieval poems written by anonymous Irish scribes. Unfortunately the narrative itself is fraught with forced rhythm and awkward rhymes. The plot would have been better served by prose, which could also have created a pleasing contrast with the translated poems. The story itself, however, rises above the text, in a warm and enlightening exploration of the book as a work of art. Richly detailed illustrations created from papercut prints and hand-colored with watercolors suit this beautifully designed picture book. An author's note offers additional information, a book list, and web sites where readers can learn to make plant-based inks and see how an illuminated manuscript is made. Children who enjoy reading about Brother Theophane may be inspired to create illustrated books of their own.