The Life of Christ No name

A Life of Our Lord for Children

Author(s): 
Marigold Hunt
Illustrator(s): 
Ted Schluenderfritz
ISBN: 
1 928 832 644
Copyright: 
2003
Publisher: 
Sophia Institute Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
189 pages
Review: 

Sophia Institute Press has reprinted another gem! In an easy conversational manner, Marigold Hunt tells the story of the Life of Christ. She begins by spending one chapter on the time before Christ, the promise, and the prophets. Then she tells of his birth and young life, his preaching and miracles, and his death and resurrection. The last chapter, His Kingdom is the Church, tells of the Pentecost.

The pictures make this edition really special. There are thirty, done in an almost icon-like style. I have two favorites. The first is of the storm on the Sea of Galilee while Jesus sleeps and the apostles panic. The view is from above. The second is a picture that has a small drawing of each apostle with some symbol to represent who he is. The spot for Judas is darkened. My children had a fun time deciding the name of each apostle based on the symbols. Another interesting detail is that the artist is a homeschooling dad!

When I first saw the book, I wondered at the need of it. If you wanted your children to know the story of Christ, I thought, why not read the Bible. But as I read it I saw that the way Mrs. Hunt tells the story makes a big difference. She claims that she is not telling everything that is in the bible, but a little, so that the children understand and can someday read the bible themselves. It is almost like a conversation she is having, with stops for explaining things, just as I would tell my children about something. For example when she talks about the coming of the Messiah, she explains why He is called the Messiah and the Christ and the King. I thought the storytelling fashion, the second person manner of writing, must be what it was like in the early days of the Church when the story of Christ passed to people by word of mouth, or like in later ages when not everyone read, but yet knew the story of Christ. For this reason I think it would make a great read aloud.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1939/2003

Review Date: 
8-10-04
Reviewed by: 

Abigail and the Widow Mary

Book cover: 'Abigail and the Widow Mary'
Author(s): 
Noel Trimming
Copyright: 
1996
Publisher: 
The Pentland Press
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
62 pages
Review: 

Mr. Trimming has created several very engaging stories about some of Jesus' most beloved miracles told from the point of view of children. These stories fall into the category of historical fiction. In other words, they are based on real events, but include some fictitious characters and dialogue. This technique allows us to see the story from a different point of view (in these stories, it is from a child's point of view) and more fully understand the story because of historical details such as customs and ettiquette of the day. The author develops these stories in such a way that children more fully understand the significance and joy of these miracles. For example, the first story is of the miracle of the Wedding at Cana, when Jesus turned the water into wine. This is told from the viewpoint of Abigail, the young sister of the bride. The story relates how important certain customs related to the wedding ceremony are and how nervous everyone is about the wine being in short supply. We see that running out of wine during the celebration would be a devastating blow to the family and the bridal couple and how even young Abigail fearfully awaits what will happen. After understanding this background, how much more joyous, particularly to the young reader, is it when they see how Jesus (with some encouragement from his mother - "the Widow Mary") comes to their aid? I believe these kind of stories are an excellent way of portraying to children how great Jesus' love is for us.

My children were familiar enough with these stories from the Bible that they delighted in figuring out which story was being told (the background development gives them a little chance for guessing). So enjoyable was this story, in fact, that I was coerced by my daughter into reading the entire book in one sitting. I have to admit that I found the task not at all unpleasant.

In order to give you a sampling of the book, the story of Reuben's Basket, which is about the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, may be read online. Note: A character in one of the stories makes a joke that some may find offensive. Keeping in mind that the author is British (and some of the words involved in the joke have different connotations to British than to Americans); I don't think the joke is a real problem, but you can decide for yourself as the joke in question is included in the chapter that you can read on their website listed above.

Perspective: 
Catholic

Jesus of Nazareth

The Story of His Life Simply Told
Book cover: 'Jesus of Nazareth: The Story of His Life Simply Told'
Author(s): 
Mother Mary Loyola
Copyright: 
1906
Publisher: 
Little Flower Home Education
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
358 pages
Review: 

"We did not see what the people of His own land saw every day, but we have the story of His life written by those who knew Him intimately, and it ought to be familiar to us all... It is of more importance to us by far than anything else we have to learn. It was written, not for mankind in general, but for each of us, one by one, that we might study it and copy its lessons into our own lives." p. 22

There is no substitute for reading the story of Christ's life in the Gospels themselves. First hand sources are always the best, but this book can assist in developing a more complete understanding and familiarity with the life of Jesus. The author is obviously well-acquainted with the geography, history and culture of Palestine and its people and gives us many of these sort of details which are not explained in the Bible. She is also well-versed in the Bible - particularly Our Lord's life and the foreshadowing and prophecies of the Old Testament related to it. I found the details of how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies particularly fascinating.

The story is very beautifully written and the events are related in terms of what we know from the biblical accounbts, relevant prophecies and considerations and meditations on why Our Lord did certain things and what He and others may have been thinking about each event.

Some may dispute the "Simply Told" aspect of the title because of a certain amount of antiquated language. Be assured that definitions given in the footnotes (at the bottom of each page)are very helpful. Footnoted scriptural references allow for a more easy comparison of the relevant passages from the original text. The author shows some reluctance (as seems rather common with authors of that time period) to discuss certain events connected with the Annunciation and the Incarnation such as Saint Joseph's thought of divorcing Mary when he found that she was with child and his reassurance by an angel in a dream.

I think this book would make a rather nice family read-aloud during Lent. We found it very nice (even for our six year old) when we read a chapter or two at a time (the chapters are rather short) and spent some time discussing events as we went along.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
2-8-2000
Reviewed by: 

The Miracles of Jesus

Author(s): 
Tomie de Paola
Review: 

This book is a beautiful way to help your children learn to know and love Jesus. With many simple pictures (but nicely done) and just enough details of the story, Tomie de Paola relates how Jesus helped others while he was on earth. Stories include: The Wedding at Cana, The Catch of Fishes, The Calming of the Storm, The Loaves and The Fishes, Jesus Walks on the Water, The Paralyzed Man, The Centurion's Servant, Jesus Heals the Lepers and The Raising of Lazarus. (13 stories altogether) My children love to hear about how good Jesus is and how much he loves them. This book is a really nice way of reinforcing that idea.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

The Parables of Jesus

Book cover: 'The Parables of Jesus'
Author(s): 
Tomie de Paola
Review: 

In a similar manner to The Miracles of Jesus, Tomie de Paola presents seventeen of Jesus' parables. This book makes them very accessible to small children and may even be the start of some interesting little discussions with your children about why Jesus told these stories. Some of the text of the parables is very brief.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: