Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Miracles of Jesus

Although many Christian Children's Book Review readers have expressed interest in finding more picture books detailing the New Testament, there tends to be an inherent problem with such books: They often bore young children. However, Tracy Harrast's The Miracles of Jesus addresses this problem head-on and comes up with a creative solution.
The basic idea of the book is simple enough: Tell brief (two or three paragraph) versions of five of Jesus' miracles in easy, kid-friendly language. But the book doesn't stop there. Estelle Corke's illustrations add color and interest to the stories. But it's the publisher's addition of a spinning wheel on each page that really makes this book a favorite among toddlers and preschoolers.
Each two-page spread includes some feature that moves when the child turns a simple, sturdy wheel on the side of the page. For example, we see moving water poured into jars to make wine, the whipping of the ocean before Jesus calms it, Jesus' legs moving as he walks across the lake, bread and fish multiply in baskets, and a coin appear and disappear from a fish's mouth. It's a simple and effective way to get small children more involved in the stories of Jesus.
To add to the book's effectiveness, each story includes a notation about where in the Bible parents can find the miracle, plus a one sentence summary to help young children get the "meat" from the story. For example, in the story of the wind and waves obeying Jesus, the author writes: "Jesus is stronger than anything we fear."
What I Like: I think this book is an excellent introduction to the miracles of Jesus. My three year old loves moving the wheels in the book, and is really beginning to remember each story well. I also appreciate the one sentence summaries, which help me help my child get "take away value" from each story.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 3 - 5, but some children as young as 2 will appreciate this book.
Publishing Info: Kregel Kidzone, 2008; ISBN: 0825455405; board book, $12.99
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