"Jesus was God's son. But some leaders didn't believe him. They made Jesus carry a cross. The soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross. Jesus died."
We learn that Jesus' "friends" put him in a tomb that was guarded by soldiers. Then the ground shook and an angel open up the tomb, making the soldiers flee. "Mary and her friends" went to the tomb; they "missed Jesus terribly." They met the angel who told them not to be afraid; Jesus had risen. The women see Jesus, who tells them to "Go and tell my friends that I am alive." Mary runs off to tell everyone the good news.
What I Like: This is a tough subject for young children. In reality, Jesus' death was brutal, but Jesus is Risen! doesn't offer gruesome illustrations. Instead, we see a weary Jesus carrying a cross while a mean-looking Roman guard looks on; later we see the bottom of the cross - with only Jesus' scraped legs visible - as a woman clings to them. So young children get the idea without being frightened. I also like that the book focuses only on Jesus' death and resurrection, ending with the wonderful words: "Jesus is alive!"
What I Dislike: We don't really learn why Jesus had to carry a cross and die, either from a theological standpoint, or from the point of view of Jesus' earthly enemies. Even just one sentence summing these things up would have been helpful. I'm also not a huge fan of the cartoon-like illustrations, but they are bright and colorful, and my toddler seems to enjoy them
Overall Rating: Good.
Age Appeal: Infant to preschool.
Publishing Info: Zonderkidz, 2006; ISBN: 0310711150; board book, $5.99.