A lightweight survey of what Jesus—or at least his local contemporaries—ate, drank, wore, cultivated, celebrated, and venerated.
Aiming to remind young readers that “Jesus was a real person who lived in a real place during a specific time in history,” this overview offers general pictures of first-century life and society in what Olson calls Palestine, with particular attention paid to the era’s Jewish practices and Scriptures (properly noting that the latter, at that time, were not yet “firmed up”). Though the author uses depersonalized terms like “peasants and slaves” in assigning people to social classes, he also casts sidelights on plenty of crowd-pleasing topics such as the “amazing and scary” Roman army, how grape juice was fermented to make it “safe-ish” for drinking, and execution methods from (natch) crucifixion to stoning: “the go-to punishment for sins against God.” Along with simplified maps and diagrams, Maybank adds stylized cartoon images of characteristic flora, fauna, common goods, artifacts, and people (with slight but perceptibly varied tones of brown or olive skin) in diverse styles of period dress. A closing gallery of everyday items mentioned in the Gospels, with chapters and verses, serves as at least a partial source list.
Simplistic in spots but engagingly tongue-in-cheek. (Informational picture book. 10-13)