Donkey is feeling grumpy. It always seems like it's hot and he has to carry such heavy loads. The last thing he wants to go is go on a long journey, yet that's what his master asks him to do. So up a mountain Donkey climbs with his master on his back. "Perhaps there are robbers," thought Donkey and felt even grumpier.
Just then, Donkey spies a man on the ground. He's been beaten and robbed. Donkey's master wants to stop, but Donkey isn't so sure. He's still feeling grumpy. Finally, he obeys and carries the beaten man to safety. "'Poor man,' thought Donkey. 'Perhaps I shouldn't be so grumpy.'" When the beaten man thanks Donkey, the author writes: "Next time Donkey wouldn't be so grumpy."
The last page of the book explains Jesus told the story of a man and his donkey who helped a man who'd been robbed. "He said we should help anyone who needs us - not just our friends."
What I Like: The idea behind this book - a retelling from the Donkey's perspective - is a good one. The main parts of Jesus' parable are all covered and the illustrations by Steve Smallman are expressive and appealing.
What I Dislike: My only complaint about this book is the emphasis on how grumpy Donkey feels. This gives the impression Jesus' story was about overcoming our grumpiness, when in fact the story is about helping anyone who needs us. The last page of the book does make this more clear, but the book would be stronger if the story itself - not just the author's moral at the end - emphasized this.
Overall Rating: Good.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, baby to preschool, but I'd say toddlers and preschoolers.
Publishing Info: Candle Books, 2005; ISBN: 978-0825473005; board book, $5.99
Special Info: Read our reviews of other books by Tim Dowley.