Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Easter Angels

The Easter Angels, written by Bob Hartman, presents a behind-the-scenes look at the day of Jesus' resurrection. Rather than following the soldiers or women at the tomb, the gardener or even the disciples, this book tells a story about the angels involved in that day.

Candriel was a guardian angel, strong and beautiful. He had been given a mysterious assignment. He was told where to go, but not what to do, only to wait for instruction from his partner, an angel he had never met.

Shakkath was the Angel of Death, weighted by his mournful tasks throughout the centuries. Rather than bright and fearsome, he was sorrowful, dark, and willowy.

The two, paired up for this special mission, talked about their vastly different experiences. They also talked about Jesus' death. Candriel had watched, eagerly awaiting the orders to save Jesus from the Cross. Those orders never came. Shakkath, already having witnessed too much death, chose not to stay away from the Calvary that day. Now sitting in a garden graveyard, they waited for the signal to open their instructions.

When three women approached, they read their charge. Candriel, so eager to free Jesus before His death, was to use his strength to roll away the stone and reveal an empty tomb. Shakkath, who so well understood the sadness and loss of death, was to share the good news with the women. Both jumped into action. When Shakkath saw the empty tomb and recognized that Jesus was alive, he changed. No longer dark and mournful, he instantly became healthy, bright and joyful. "The soldiers said it was an earthquake. They said they saw a flash of lightning. But Candriel knew different. The sound that cracked the morning stillness was a sad whisper exploding into a shout of joy... the Angel of Death became, for evermore, the Angel of Life."

Illustrator Sophy Williams uses dynamic colors and high contrast to infuse the pages with emotion. The illustrations are not crisply defined; they're also darker than most children's books, but these details correspond well with the tone of the text.

What I Like: This is an interesting story that depicts the thoughts and experiences of angels, something rarely done in Christian literature. I especially like the redemptive elements. This book clearly shows the power of Christ's resurrection to change individuals!

What I Dislike: It's really dark for a kids' book. More importantly, the somber tone of this story implies fact, but there is little to no biblical foundation. The text even suggests there was no earthquake which directly contradicts the account in Matthew 28. Because Jesus' resurrection is a vital foundation to the Christian faith, stories related to it should be obviously fact or obviously fiction. This book walks a dangerous line between those two.

Overall Rating: Ho-hum. I like it as a fantasy tale or legend, but because its genre is not clear to readers, my theological convictions forbid me to rate it higher.

Age Appeal: 6-10

Publisher Info: Lions Children's, 2010; ISBN: 0825478944; Hardback; $14.95

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $11.99!

OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $10.79.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: