Friday, October 31, 2008

Water Come Down: The Day You Were Baptized

Water Come Down: The Day You Were Baptized, written by Walter Wangerin, Jr. and illustrated by, Gerardo Suzin, celebrates the glory of being baptized. When we are baptized, and become “children of God,” all creation – sun, clouds, rain, and wind – join in the celebration of a “new life.” The lyrical text makes the connection between rain from the Heavens (the water “coming down”) and the baptismal font, citing both as God’s creations.

And I am the water that flows in a river,
The River of Life, forever and ever –
Yes! I am the water came down to your town,
To find you, child, and you I found –
The day you were baptized.

I am the water they washed you in,
Your head, your heart, your soul, your skin,
Clean of the devil! Clean from sin,
The day you were baptized.

The author cites his use of a Biblical text, from Romans 8, to explain his approach to baptism: “The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” Other verses in this book echo this sentiment, showing the sun, the clouds, the rain and the wind, all rejoicing in the baptism of a new “child of God”.

The illustrations are a bit cartoonish but they are expressive and colorful and child-like, making them appropriate for a book of this nature.

What I Like: At the end of the book is a section called “The Story of Baptism”. The author explains why we need to be baptized and cites Biblical passages for text used in the story.

What I Dislike: The story is written in rhyme. Most of the passages flow smoothly, but in some cases the rhyme is a bit forced, making the text a bit jarring. For instance, the author tries to rhyme “down” with “underground.”

It’s a truly lovely book, but I think it was written more for the adult than the child, even though it is certainly a picture book. I’m afraid most children wouldn’t understand the symbolism in the poetry without a lot of explanation - - but, then again, children need a lot of explanation to understand the concept of baptism.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: 4-8.

Publisher Info: Augsburg Fortress Publisher, 1999; ISBN: 0806637110; Hardcover, $16.99.

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