Friday, March 18, 2011

Why Do We Celebrate Easter?

If you want to get to the very heart of the Easter message, check out Mark I. Sutherland’s book Why Do We Celebrate Easter? This straight-forward story, nicely illustrated by Julie Hammond, begins with… well, the beginning of the world. Sutherland first reminds readers God created the world. Sutherland then shows the need for redemption by pointing out that even at that very early stage, “God knew that people would one day disobey Him. And when people disobeyed God, God knew that they couldn’t be with Him anymore and their disobedience would need to be punished.”

As Sutherland tells the story, he brings in a theme that is reiterated consistently throughout: God had a plan to bring people back to Him, and that plan involved God’s son, Jesus.

The story shows Jesus taking our punishment “instead of us, so that we could be with God forever and ever.” And it tells about the empty tomb.

After relaying the events following Jesus’ resurrection, Sutherland clearly states how readers can accept God’s saving grace. He ends the book answering the question about why we celebrate Easter.

What I Like: The illustrations were interesting, colorful, and kid-friendly. I also appreciated Sutherland starting with original sin, but then showing God’s plan already in action to redeem us. I especially liked how he repeated, “This was part of God’s plan.” I think that phrase will help reassure children that not only does God love us, but he can work even the most tragic events out for our good and His glory. I suspect this book would be a handy tool to help parents explain God’s gift of salvation.

What I Dislike: At times, I felt like more specific details were merited. Plus I would have liked a Scripture reference to go with the story so that if I wasn’t familiar with the Bible, I could quickly find the information I needed. (For example, if I was I kid, I would wonder why “bad men” thought they were “good enough to get to heaven by themselves” and why “one of Jesus’ best friends, Judas, told the bad men he would help them hurt Jesus.” Providing the reader with Scripture references better equips them to address such questions.) Plus, the author states that Jesus “grew up just like you and me.” While this is true, I think it is also important to note that Jesus was without sin, which is why he was able serve as a Savior for all mankind.

Overall Rating: Good

Age Appeal: The product description lists ages 3-9.

Publisher Info: Dunrobin Publishing, 2011; ISBN:978-0983236306; Paperback or Kindle, 28 PGS., $9.99.

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