The monastery of St. Ambrose is situated on the Irish island of Morcarrick. Here, monks old and young live quiet lives spent in prayer and service. One day the Abbot decides that Brother Bede, their finest illuminator of manuscripts, will illustrate the Christmas story. It will be magnificent, praised throughout the world (as will St. Ambrose). Unfortunately, young Brother Cuthbert has been chosen to assist Brother Bede in this project. Cuthbert is impatient, lacks discipline, and even worse--is known for making mistakes. His nickname is "Smudge." How can someone so ill-suited assist in the creation of the greatest book of all? Award-winning author Gloria Whelan shows that sometimes, when given the right task, someone's greatest weakness can prove to be his greatest strength.