Sunday, February 19, 2012


The theme of Kate Austin’s Book Everlasting is neatly summed up in the closing pages. “The Kingdom Key is faith, you see./ His love for us has set us free./ For all who in His name believe,/ Everlasting life they will receive!”
A character in the shape of a key leads the reader through this 80 page picture book. The first fourteen pages are dedicated to the creation of the world. After that, the story jumps to Bethlehem, where baby Jesus has just been born. Ten pages later, Jesus is an adult being baptized in the Jordan River. From there, the story highlights some important teachings, such as treating others kindly, loving God, and obeying parents. The author also addresses Christ’s death on the cross, subsequent resurrection, and His promise to return one day.
As the story closes, Austin offers the reader tips on how to make sure his name is written in the Book of Life.
The book is written in rhyme and supported by Scripture references. One side of each two-page spread has a full page-sized illustration, done by artist Jason Paulhamus, and text (often accompanied by small quarter-sized illustration) on the other. The pictures are cartoonish and filled with rich, bright colors. Paulhamus depicts a variety of ethnic races and animals. The illustrations are cute, and contain enough interesting detail to hold the reader’s attention.
After the story ends, the author provides the Lord’s Prayer, and explains each phrase in it. Finally, the last page gives information on how to download this story as a free audio book.
What I Like: The kid-friendly illustrations were my favorite part of the book. The “key” character struck me as strange at first, but then I came to appreciate the unity it provided and how it reminded the reader to look for important ideas. The free audio link is a real plus. Everyone likes free things! I also appreciated the explanation of the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the story. Finally, I valued the simple steps given to ask for salvation. The words are a tool parents can use to touch the hearts of their children.
What I Dislike: The rhythm of the rhyming verses is inconsistent. When I read the story out loud, I stumbled over several awkward phrases. Also, the author tackles a lot of ideas in short order. While some ideas are explained well (for example, the Holy Spirit) other ideas are too vague. I fear the book may leave too much unexplained for those not familiar with the Bible. (For example, parents may have to explain who Paul was, or that Jordan is a river, not a man.) In addition, the book may be too lengthy for younger kids to read and digest in one sitting. (80 pages for a picture book!) I would have preferred having the storied divided into more bite-sized chunks.
Overall Rating: I had my daughter read this book to get her opinion as well. She gave it a “Very Good” rating. My rating averages out to very good as well: excellent for concept, very good for illustrations, but only good on execution. So overall… VERY GOOD.
Age Appeal: None is listed, but I think it would be best suited for the Kindergarten-Second grade crowd. It's too long for younger kids and too simple for kids much older.
Publisher Info: Tate Publishing, 2011; ISBN: 978-1606960721; Paperback, 80 pgs., $19.99.
This book is not available at
Buy it at for $15.59.
Special Info: At the back of the book, CCBR’s very own hero, Kristina Seleshanko, is thanked for the guidance and encouraging words she offered the author. Way to go, Kristina! Please note, however, that Kristina in no way influenced my review. Also, donations from book sales of Everlasting will be made to: The Temple Mount in Jerusalem, The Veteran’s Fund, The Humane Society of the United States, and The Humane Society of Los Cabos, Mexico. Also, you may view a sample chapter of the book at

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