By: Adele Colvin; Illustrated by Peyton Carmichael
Reviewed by: Sherry Kughn
Pelican Publishing Company, 2009
This flawlessly written book for children ages eight-up is framed by a grandfather donkey taking advantage of a rainy day to tell his two grandchildren donkeys stories about his associations with Jesus.
The grandfather donkey tells how he was scared to be ridden, only to find that his rider was none other than the gentle Jesus. The grandfather’s parents, he said, knew Mary and Joseph. His mother, he said, carried Mary to Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. The grandfather donkey tells how he carried Jesus to the temple when he threw out the money changers, healed the sick, defended himself against tax collectors, and taught the crowds. The grandfather donkey also witnessed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the cross, and at the resurrection.
The young donkeys are so excited by their grandfather’s stories that they beg to share them with other donkeys.
The text of the stories is simple and reads as if a human grandfather were telling stories of great interest to his offsprings. The love for family is evident among the Bible characters and among the donkey families.
Linking a donkey with children’s stories about Jesus is not a new trend. Four popular children’s books are also available: The Donkey’s Christmas Song by Nancy Tafui (Scholastic Inc., 2006); Ruben, Grandpa Jacob’s First Christmas Donkey; Ruben, My Friend Jesus Is Lost in Jerusalem; and Ruben, My Friend Jesus Is Baptized, all three self-published by E.A. LaPalme. In 2000, the television story Nestor, the Long-eared Christmas Donkey aired.
Adele Colvin, who lives in Birmingham, has two other books related to donkeys and Jesus: The Donkeys’ Tales (Crane Hill, 1999) and The Story of Jesus as Told in the Donkeys Tales (Pelican, 2008). Both books are also illustrated by Peyton Carmichael, an award-winning artist, also of Birmingham and of Greenville.
Carmichael’s illustrations are simple, clean representations of the Holy Land settings with attractive shadings and soothing colors. Their richness lends interest and drama to these familiar stories. The book is not only suitable for older children to read, but also suitable for younger children to hear. June 2009
Anniston native Sherry Kughn is the author of Heart Tree Books for empty-nest moms. Her latest, God’s Bouquet for Empty Nesters, was published in May 2009 by Lambert Book House.