Author: John Hendrix
Author Website: https://www.johnhendrix.com/
Illustrator: John Hendrix
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Word Count: 1314
This story is perfect for ages: 4-6, 6+
Straight from Aunty LuLav
The first description that comes to mind is Living Word! With incredible creativity and tenderness toward the heart of Jesus’ ministry in the earth, John Hendrix creates a visual masterpiece.
The Words themselves work their way through the illustrations conveying meaning and creating a flow fitting for each scene.
This is an incredible book for an elementary-aged child who will enjoy the words becoming the illustrations. Hendrix does retell the stories of the miracles in his own words, not using direct quotations. If this bothers you, that might be a pause.
This book creates a lot of room for dialogue with older children, contemplating the meaning of Jesus’ life in the earth.
For children who have grown up in the church and heard these stories over and over until their eyes glaze over, this retelling will catch their attention. For those that have never heard of Jesus of Nazareth, they will meet Him as the Miracle Man, Son of God Who loves and heals.
The end of the book portrays the Crucifixion and Resurrection through illustration, leaving room for the reader. What a wonderful gift to be given space to ponder and understand.
The author provides a lovely note at the end of the book. He details both his love for Jesus and the authority of the scriptures, along with his decision to retell the scriptures in the story-telling format.
Scriptural Underpinnings & Positive Themes
This is a list of the miracles covered in the book! For an older child, it is really an incredible journey with the Miracle Man. The way Hendrix relates the stories, allows us to see Jesus in the light in which He might have been perceived by those experiencing those miraculous moments in real time.
Fishers of Men – Matthew 4:18-2, Mark 1:16-18, Luke 5:1-11, John 21, This is after Jesus is risen, and he directs them to cast their net on the other side of the boat – but it is mixed in with this story earlier in His ministry.
Healing the Leper – Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-16.
Paralyzed Man Lowered though Peter’s Roof – (man is depicted in the story as a child) Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26.
The Wind and Waves Obey – Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25.
Feeding the 5000 – Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:35-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:1-13.
Walking on Water – Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52, John 6:16-21.
Passover – The Last Supper- Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13-17
Gethsemane – Matthew 26:47-56, Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, John 18:1-14
The Cross – Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19:16-37
The Resurrection – Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 19:38- ch 20
The illustrations are rich in detail and underlying meanings. You can find little details that are clues pointing to other Bible stories. The use of weaving the text into the illustration keeps the elementary-school readers happily engaged. Incredibly creative!
One of my favorites is on page 7-8 where Jesus heals the Leper. Instead of shying away from the leper as required by OT law, Jesus touches him. Before the touch, we see the Leper tied up in bandages with sores and black serpent-like strands encircling him. It is reminiscent of spirits of infirmity. When Jesus heals the Leper, those same black strands are all at attention and jumping away from them both and the man is healed and whole.
Jesus, the disciples, the people and the Pharisees are all depicted as they would have appeared in that time in Israel.
A slight pause for me – Jesus clothes are pretty tattered in the illustrations and his head uncovered. Which would not have been true of a Jewish teacher in that time. In fact the soldiers cast lot for Jesus’ robe because it was finely woven. However, using artistic license, I understand that Hendrix is showing the humility of Jesus as Son of Man, and His self-sacrifice as He walked the earth among us. Hallelujah!
If it bothers you that the retelling of the stories of the miracles are not verbatim and Hendrix takes a few artistic liberties, (for example, the child who gave the Fish and Five loaves in the John 9 account of the feeding of the 5000 is depicted as a girl in this book) then this may not be a book for you.
However, the author explains this choice in the end of the book to the reader.
When it comes to the scripture, I am a purist (but not a Pharisee!) . I struggle with the few details Hendrix has changed in relating the stories. The change does not however change the meaning of the scriptures at all.
SO – I have to say I LOVE THIS BOOK FOR OLDER KIDS! The beauty and power and love and self-sacrifice of our Savior are clearly shown.
The End of the Matter4/5 waves
So Wave Your Lulavs and may they multiply
like the Fish and the Loaves!