Title: The First Easter Ever
Illustrator: Dennis Jones
“When Jesus’ friends got to the tomb they could not believe their eyes or the words of the angel. Jesus was risen? What wonderful news!” it states in Zonderkidz’s book, The First Easter Ever.
This small thirty-two page paperback targets preschool to early elementary school aged children who enjoy reading the Biblical account of Christ’s resurrection. Depictions of Jesus being beaten, bearing His cross, crucified, and dead may concern some young children. Due to some complicated wording, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers. This reviewer wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
With colorful quarter-to-full page illustrations by Dennis Jones, the easy-to-read font of black wording is usually set against a white background. Most of the designs of people and animals contain expressive facial features showing pain (Jesus being scourged), sadness (witnessing Jesus’s death), and happiness (Christ’s resurrection and ascension). The ending has one page dedicated to nine other children’s books by the artist.
Using the New International Version of the Holy Bible, this story covers the life of Jesus, starting as a boy who left home at thirty years of age to teach the world about God’s love. After being baptized and choosing twelve disciples, three years later He is captured, tortured, crucified, and buried. One morning, He rises from the dead, visits His friends, and returns to Heaven.
Although the book does not have the eternal plan of salvation explaining that Christ died on the cross for our sins, it is rare to see a children’s book address His crucifixion and include how He was beaten and nailed to a cross. Without displaying blood, the pictures have enough background content to convey the story, hopefully without upsetting a juvenile viewer.
As a story that has Easter in its title yet never uses the word inside the book, the engaging pictures help explain to a four to eight year old the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and how He came to Earth to share God’s love. Even though it is in paperback format, it would make a lovely gift this holiday for any young reader.
Thanks to Harper Collins for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s honest opinions.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.