A young boy tells the story. After longing and waiting, he finally receives his very own colt from his father. The boy lovingly cares for his young donkey and is eager to train him, but preparations for Passover consume his time. Then one day two men take their donkeys, his and his father's. "That's my colt!" he says. The men explain: "The Master has need of it." Hearing this, the young boy's father urges him to let the donkey go. He does, but follows to see what will become of his animal. He sees Jesus and the disciples. When he realizes Jesus intends to ride the colt, he jumps from his hiding spot to warn him that the colt is not yet trained; he has never been ridden. Jesus just smiles and climbs on. Immediately the colt settles down. The boy watches as Jesus rides the colt all the way to Jerusalem amidst waving palms and shouts of "Hosanna!"
That night the boy arrives home to find his beloved donkey returned. Passover fills the week, then the family learns Jesus has been arrested. This boy, who was so upset to have his colt taken, decides to give his donkey to Jesus so that He may ride "far away to safety." But by the time he reaches Jerusalem, Jesus is already dead. The boy mourns, refusing to leave his room. On the third day his parents wake him: "Jesus has risen from the tomb!" After visiting the empty tomb, the boy rides his donkey through the streets of Jerusalem "shouting the good news: 'Hallelujah! He lives!'"
What I Like:The illustrations are gorgeous, full of color, detail and emotion. With the excellent quality of illustrations, I'm grateful the crucifixion is depicted from a distance. (Even from a fuzzy distance, this picture, with a blackened sky, soldiers and crosses, still frightens my almost-four-year-old.)I like the unique perspective. Often we glaze over the detail of the colt never before ridden, but this, too, is a miracle! I appreciate the peek into this family's situation from a child's view.
What I Dislike:The book doesn't explain why Jesus died or why He rose from the dead. It doesn't even say why we should care. The inside cover flap gives some of this information, including a reference to Old Testament Messianic prophecies, but the book itself, the part kids will read, explains none of this.
Overall Rating: Very good.
Age Appeal: 5-9
Publisher Info: Concordia Publishing House, 2008; ISBN: 0758614233; Hardback; $14.99
Special Info: See our reviews of other books by this author.