Friday, March 30, 2012

Simon and the Easter Miracle

Simon and the Easter Miracle
by Mary Joslin
illustrated by Anna Luraschi
Published January 2012
Kregel Publications
32 pages



About the Book
The gospels tell of Simon of Cyrene--"a man coming in from the country"--who was ordered to carry Jesus' cross. Over the centuries, his story has been woven into a Polish folktale. In the tradition of The Three Trees this folk tale gives a fresh perspective on the Easter story.

When Simon the farmer brings his wares to market, little does he expect how he will be involved in the events of that very special day, nor how his items--bread, eggs, and wine--will become important symbols of Jesus' passion and resurrection, remembered throughout the ages.

This picture book retelling of a traditional tale is both thought-provoking and engaging.

My Thoughts
I had high hopes for Simon and the Easter Miracle. The illustrations were beautiful—the color and the details instantly captured my attention. Unfortunately, however, the story was a disappointment.

Based on the title and the fact that the book was marketed as a Christian book, I anticipated reading a story about Jesus. Instead, Jesus is not mentioned by name (referenced only as "the prisoner"), He is described simply as "preaching a message of peace," and the resurrection is overlooked altogether. The miracle referenced in the title has nothing to do with Jesus, but refers to the "miraculous" growth of Simon's crops. The story is rich with symbolism but I couldn't figure out how it related to the rest of the story and think it will probably be over most kids' heads. Lastly, the story ended so abruptly that I thought I was missing pages. (I was not.)

While the pictures are worth a 5-star rating, I sadly can't recommend the book based on the merits of the story. [1 star]

I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Mary Joslin, published exclusively by Lion, is known for her children's books on belief and spirituality. Her books, which include The Story of the Cross and On That Christmas Night, have sold more than 200,000 copies.

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