Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Candle Library: Easter

There is something about little books that appeals to little people - which is why Candle Books recently released a boxed series of 3.5 inch square books called Candle Library: Easter.

Each of the books, written by Karen Williamson, tells one part of the Easter story. Book 1 tells of Palm Sunday (although that term is never used); book 2 tells of the Last Supper (again, that actual term isn't used in the book); book 3 tells of Jesus' arrest; book 4, of his death on the cross; book 5, of his resurrection; and book 6, of his return to Heaven. Throughout, colorful, cartoonish illustrations by Marie Allen add great interest for little people.
What I Like: My 4 yr. old loves little books and couldn't wait to read this set. His attention span is still often short, so the fact that the story is broken down into different books is a real plus; it makes it easy to stop reading, then complete another part of the story at a later time. The illustrations appeal to my son, also, and I appreciate the delicate way the artist dealt with Jesus' death. She never shows bodies on the cross - just crosses in a dark atmosphere. It gets the point across without upsetting very young children. (Even so, my son was upset that Jesus died; I told him, "Don't worry; the story has a happy ending.")

What I Dislike: There are some relatively minor things that bother me. The word "plotting" is used twice times (as in "they were plotting to kill him"). It seems such a strange word choice in a set of books clearly geared toward toddlers and preschoolers. It also seems strange to mention the Last Supper without mentioning anything about taking communion today.When Jesus dies, the author doesn't make it clear it was daytime and that the darkness was unnatural - so my child didn't understand why a solider suddenly said "This really was God's son!" Finally, like so many picture books about Easter, the series never explains why Jesus' death and resurrection happened, or what it means for us today.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: toddler to preschool

Publishing Info: Candle Books; 2013; ISBN: 978-1859859421; board books, 48 pgs. total, $7.99

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