Monday, June 15, 2015

Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus? That’s a question many young children might ask. The concept of Jesus being someone you cannot see but who is both God and man, forgives your sins, and lives in your heart is an abstract idea for kids. How can parents help children understand what Jesus is like and how he views people? How can children comprehend God’s love for them and recognize ways they can show God’s love to others? A good starting point for discussion is MaryAnn Diorio’s book Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus? is not a typical storybook; instead it is set up in simple yet predictably structured sections. (In a way, it’s almost like a short devotional book for preschoolers by the way it is divided up.) First, the reader sees the same image as the cover asking, “Who is Jesus?” The next two-page spread shows pictures of a child with a problem (getting their toy taken, being laughed at, etc.) followed by a child receiving grace (having a toy shared with them, being comforted). The question-and-answer style text points out that Jesus won’t treat you in an unhappy way but in a caring way. After that, the author shares a Scripture that ties into the example. 

Take this four-page snippet for illustration: “Who is Jesus?”/ “Is he someone who yells at you when you cry?”/ “No, Jesus doesn’t yell at you when you cry. Jesus helps you blow your nose.”/ “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1. 

 Each page contains only a few lines of text and is accompanied by whimsical pen and watercolor creations done by award winning illustrator Kim Sponaugle. The pictures are brightly colored, packed with delightful detail, and visually alluring. Sponaugle portrays children from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

What I Like: I love the illustrations in this book. Even if the text was terrible (which it is not) I would probably still buy the book just for the pictures. The message is sweet and somewhat subtle too. It tells us how Jesus cares for us, but shows us through images what that looks like in everyday life. (Jesus doesn’t actually share a teddy bear with a friend as the text states, but his love is shown when a teddy bear is shared with a friend.) As a teacher, I also appreciate the pattern of the book, which young children seem to enjoy.

What I Dislike: It is a little pricey.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: None is listed, but I think it's best suited for the toddler/preschool group.

Publisher Info: TopNotch Press, 2014; ISBN:978-0930037154 ; Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, 48 pgs., HC $19.95, PB $ 14.95, Kindle $14.95

Buy the hardback at for $17.98!
OR Buy the paperback at for $13.47
OR Buy the Kindle version at for $9.95

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