First published in Germany, this theologically confusing introduction to the life of Jesus is told through disjointed episodes that don’t have any connecting narrative to help the reader.
The first few pages give short versions of key stories: Gabriel tells Mary she will have a child, the son of God, and this is followed on the next spread by the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Jesus goes abruptly from the manger to the temple, conversing with the teachers there. On the next page, Jesus has begun his ministry, but his baptism, a key event in his life and in the theological structure of Christianity, is omitted. Several of the parables and miracles of Jesus are retold, but the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer are not included. The conclusion is especially confusing, jumping from an account of the Crucifixion that clearly states that Jesus is dead to the empty tomb on the final spread with the concluding words, “Jesus lives and has triumphed over death!” Striking illustrations make excellent use of glowing light and varied perspectives, and the illustrations have enough appeal to somewhat offset the drawbacks of the text.
The Life of Jesus, by Sophie Piper and Angelo Ruta (2013), and The Light of the World, by Katherine Paterson and François Roca (2008), are better introductions to the life of Jesus for a similar age group. (Picture book/religion. 4-8)