Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus by John Hendrix

Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers

 

Summary:  The story of Jesus’ life is told from a Christian perspective, with an emphasis on miracles he performed.  The narrative begins with him calling his disciples from among the fishermen, then continues with various healings, Jesus calming the waves and walking on the water, and the miracle of the loaves and fishes.  His last supper is recounted, followed by his crucifixion, which is alluded to, but not shown in the pictures (something this reader, who was traumatized as a child by a book called The Easter Story for Children, appreciated).  The resurrection is covered in two pages, one showing a wrapped body lying in a tomb, the next showing Jesus in white, standing outside the tomb, and the sentence, “But God’s Son, Jesus, the Miracle Man, had in store one last glorious miracle…”  An author’s note explains how he came to create this book, and the process of choosing from among the stories of Jesus in the Bible, which necessarily left out some of the story.  40 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  The beautifully designed illustrations, incorporating some of Jesus’ words into the pictures, are worthy of Caldecott consideration (would a group of 21st-century librarians recognize a book that is clearly written from a Christian perspective?).  The simple text is a good introduction to Jesus’ miracles and many aspects of his life.

Cons:  As noted by the author, this is a selection of stories, and some key parts of Jesus’ life (birth, John the Baptist, Sermon on the Mount, Mary Magdalene) are excluded.

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