Tuesday, March 8, 2016
In Joanna the Donkey, author Kenneth E. Metzger tells the story of Jesus’ ride to Nazareth on a donkey from the donkey’s point of view.
Joanna is a donkey with a hearing problem. She is chosen as the donkey Jesus rides into Nazareth. When the crowds line the streets and start shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” she thinks they are saying “Joanna! Joanna!” After the procession is over and Joanna returns home, her mother explains to her what the people were really saying and what they really meant.
At the end of the book, the author includes a section called “Inter-actives for Parents To Do with Their Children.” This is a list of questions about the story that parents and children can discuss together.
The pencil illustrations, by Sydney Dziewa are colorful, but they are a bit cartoonish.
What I Like: I like the humor of having a donkey that is hard of hearing. I also like the list of questions at the end of the story.
What I Dislike: When Joanna’s friends her that a King is coming who will need a donkey to ride, each of them think they will be chosen. When Joanna says, “Maybe he’ll choose me,” her two friends roll with laughter at the thought of Joanna being the chosen one. Why would Jesus choose to ride on a lame donkey? But when Joanna is chosen, and she later tells her friends about her adventure, they don’t even seem surprised. I wonder why that is?
I also did not like the layout. Each two-page spread was exactly the same, with an illustration on the left and the text on the right. There was no variation at all.
Overall Rating: Good.
Age Appeal: 4-8.
Publisher Info: Xulon Press, 2014; ISBN: 9781498413923; paperback, $11.99.