Illustrated by Leslie L. Benson Easter is a celebration of life, a time to welcome spring and the renewal it represents. For many, the spiritual aspect of Easter is covered in a parade of ruffles, candy, and pastel bunnies. A simple book with the clear story of Christ's life leading to death and the all-important resurrection is helpful in teaching children about the Easter truth, and to serve that purpose Nancy Skarmeas has written The First Easter. Leslie Benson's illustrations also follow the traditional line, with the 20th-century Western rendering of Jesus and his followers.
The book begins with a simple introduction to the character of Jesus and his ministry. It briefly describes the call of the early disciples. An account of one of his miracles is given, which leads to his recognition as Messiah, Savior. But the core of the book revolves around detailed coverage of the Easter story.
Beginning with the Last Supper, Skarmeas includes the betrayal by Judas, Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion. The resurrection accounts contain Jesus' appearance to Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Easter story concludes with many of the promises to his followers and his ascension into heaven. The text draws from each of the four gospels and offers a smooth rendering of the Easter story. The text is not cluttered with parenthetical scripture references, but they are given at the end of the book to aid further reading. Parents looking for a richly illustrated, yet simple version of the Easter story will find this book fits the bill.
Jana Benjamin, M. Div., writes from her home in Tullahoma, Tennessee.