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Reflections on heavenly hope

CHILDREN’S BOOKS | Four new releases reviewed

Reflections on heavenly hope
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Jesus Moments: David

Alison Mitchell
(The Good Book Company 2024)

On the road to Emmaus, Luke says, Jesus “interpreted” for His disciples “the things concerning himself” in the Old Testament. This picture book serves a similar purpose for children today. With Noah Warnes’ stylized illustrations, Mitchell highlights some of David’s most poignant early moments in Scripture, including his anointing by Samuel, his battle with Goliath, and his hope to build a temple. The book also contains a hidden-picture ­element that prompts readers to look for crowns marking moments when David reflects Jesus in some way. At the end, five spreads unpack these “Jesus moments,” showing Christ as our greater King. A powerful theological package that will delight readers, especially boys. Ages 4-8

Journey With Jesus: An Easter Story

Ann Ingalls
(Paraclete Press 2024)

This small picture book features rhyming couplets and straightforward illustrations that retell Jesus’ journey to Easter morning. From His triumphal entry to the Resurrection, the book highlights familiar scenes as well as some scenes less often included in children’s books—e.g., Christ washing the disciples’ feet. While the book offers colorful pages and musical language, some couplets do feel stilted and may need explanation for younger readers. Steliyana Doneva’s illustrations also tend toward the predictable (for instance, Jesus wears white). Overall, the book is a respectful but familiar treatment of the Easter story. Some families may want to provide context for the book’s final words, “Now all can enter ­paradise.” Ages 4-8

The Friends and the Traveller

Sam Brewster
(10Publishing 2024)

When two friends encounter a stranger on the road to Emmaus, their “gloom” over Christ’s death turns into joy. Brewster’s conversational and (mostly) rhyming couplets will likely draw children in, and Hannah Green’s relatable illustrations give the book a playful feel. Although the book loses some narrative force near the end, Brewster does help children see how they fit into the story. Readers also see the disciples’ emotional range—going from despair to joy—which shows how the Easter story is good news to transform our hearts and lives. An enjoyable book that will likely engage children’s imaginations and invite conversation. Ages 5-8

Strong: Psalm 1

Sally Lloyd-Jones
(Zonderkidz 2024)

The author-illustrator team behind The Jesus Storybook Bible join up for another offering in their board book series. In Strong: Psalm 1, Lloyd-Jones first tells children, “By a stream is a good place for a little tree to be.” She then shows how a stream can help trees grow “strong and beautiful.” In the last few pages, she brings the analogy of Scripture to bear: “Close to you, God, is a good place for me to be.” While appropriately simple, Lloyd-Jones’ language is crisp and clear and captures the heart of Psalm 1. Jago’s bold, vibrant illustrations add plenty of interest, making this an option both little ones and adults can appreciate. Ages 0-4

Emily Whitten

Emily is a book critic and writer for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and University of Mississippi graduate, previously worked at Peachtree Publishers, and developed a mother’s heart for good stories over a decade of homeschooling. Emily resides with her family in Nashville, Tenn.



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