Thursday, March 19, 2009

Easter in the Garden

Easter in the Garden, written by Pamela Kennedy, offers a child’s perspective of the very first Resurrection Sunday.

One day after helping his father garden, Micah discovers a nest high in an old olive tree. Inside rest three speckled eggs. Every day after that he visits the nest, waiting for the little birds to hatch. Day after day, he finds them there, still as stones.

One day angry soldiers march through the Jerusalem streets. Frightened, Micah returns home to find his mother crying. She explains that Jesus, their friend, is dead. Bad men killed him. Micah remembers Jesus, how nice he was, how he welcomed Micah and other children to sit on his lap. He taught them about God. Micah always felt safe when Jesus was around. Now that Jesus is dead, Micah doesn’t feel safe. He feels very scared.

After a very sad Sabbath, Micah remembers the eggs. He returns to the garden to check on them. They still haven’t hatched. But then he sees something else: three women walk by and are greeted by a great light. It’s an angel! The angel tells them the good news: Jesus is alive! Micah can’t wait to tell his family, but before he leaves the old olive tree something moves in the nest. The eggs are starting to hatch. Micah whispers to them that everything will be okay now because Jesus is alive.

David Wenzel offers wonderful illustrations for this book. The colors are soft, but engaging; the style charming and detailed.

What I Like: I like the child’s perspective. The story flows well. I also like that there are no pictures of Christ or the crucifixion. The focus remains on the good news of His resurrection.

What I Dislike: There is no explanation of why any of this happened. Yes, Micah feels safer with Jesus alive, but what difference does that make to children living two thousand years later? A great explanation or application would be helpful.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: 4-8

Publisher Info: Ideals Children’s Books, 2008; ISBN: 9780824955779; Hardback; $12.99

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Anonymous said...

I liked this book, too. I picked it up for my youngest out of a crowded shelf, choosing it, over the others, because the plot was more original and compelling and better written than the rest of the choices next to it.

The faults you point out are valid. Unfortunately, they're valid for pretty much all of the kids Easter books. Let's hope an editor or two sees your comments and persuades their authors to add those missing bits.

Tanya said...

Thanks, Dan, for your comments! I agree -- it is difficult to find a children's book on Easter that fully explains the WHY rather than just the story. Be sure to check out our reviews of other Easter books. Perhaps one of them will work well as a companion to this one.