Can you believe we are half way through Lent already! I thought I’d share a mega list of Lent/Easter books, updating with my star reviews, do realise that reviews are rather subjective. Talking stars, one reader shared that she doesn’t appreciate my stars as her mind doesn’t categorise like mine, my mind tends to organise so I find the stars useful even for myself. So what’s the verdict from the majority, do you appreciate the stars, or do they irritate you?
What I would love would be more Lenten and Holy Week recommendations, most books have a more Easter morning focus. Any must have suggestions?
The Little Rose of Sharon – Nan Gurley
A beautiful story of sacrifice, a rose gives up her most prized possession (her lovely petals) to save a baby dove. The illustrations are beautiful, a favourite. 4 Star
The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
Another story about continual self-sacrifice, the Giving Tree continually gives to a boy/man who took and took and never appreciated the sacrifices of the tree; the fruit, the branches and finally the trunk. Truthfully I find this book boring but it appeals to some of the children. 2 Star
The Story of the Cross – Mary Joslin
Every year we use this book for meditation on Good Friday, very basic but clear to children. 4 Star
Children’s Stations of the Cross – Susan Andrews Brindle
Lengthy text both in English and Spanish. Brindle’s books are too waffly for me, gathering dust. 1 Star
Benjamin’s Box – Melody Carlson
One of our very, very favourites:) the children eagerly look forward to this book on Good Friday morning and the accompanying treasure egg hunt. Benjmin has gathered treasures that represent moments throughout Holy Week 5 Star
The Thornbush – Michael Laughlin
A small thornbush grows in the streets of Jerusalem, the bush feels ugly and unwanted. Jesus passes with his hands tied and gazes at the bush with gentle care. The soldiers make a crown of thorns from the bush’s branches. The bush is ashamed and refuses to bloom, but when Jesus’ rises from the dead, the bush blooms. Illustrations use warm colours
Gentle, reflective. 4 Star
The Easter story retold by a pair of swallows who are building a nest in the garden in which Jesus is buried. Simple enough to hold the interest of little ones. My favourite line is “Backwards and forwards they flew, carrying great globules of mud in their beaks.” Isn’t globules a delicious word? Very simple illustrations, light colours, sweet, but undiluted.
The Legend of the Three Trees – Catherine McCafferty
A beautiful story about three trees who have big dreams, dreams involving grandeur, their dreams are doomed to fail or so they think. A favourite of ours suitable for either Christmas or Easter. 4 Star
The Proud Tree- Luane Roche
This storyline is similar to the ‘Three Trees’. ‘Rex’ thinks he is a tree worthy for a king. But to his horror he is chopped down to be a cross for a crucifixion. However the proud Rex learns a lesson from the humble, gentle Jesus. A longer text, black and white illustrations. 4 Star
The Tale of The Three Trees – Angela Elwell Hunt
We found this copy at the op shop, now totaling three books based on the similar storyline. Three trees, all have grand dreams, it appears that their dreams fail miserably and yet…. their dreams do come to fruition. A big favourite. Clear illustrations. 4 Star
The Easter Story – Brian Wildsmith
The story of Easter retold through the eyes of the little donkey that carried Jesus. From Palm Sunday throughout the events of Holy Week till the Resurrection we follow the donkey. Incredibly illustrated like all of Brian Wildsmith’s books, a treasure we love. *Contains an inaccuracy, Mary the Mother of God goes to the tomb on Easter Sunday morn.
The Story of Easter – Mary Joslin
An easy to follow storyline, the story of Easter, with soft illustrations. My only reservation about this book is early on when the author writes “Mary traveled to Bethlehem with her husband-to-be Joseph.” This inaccuracy jarrs in an otherwise great book. 3.5 Star
On That Easter Morning – Mary Joslin
Retelling of the Easter story from Palm Sunday through to the Resurrection. Accurately told, a fair amount of text on each page, the casual rewording of Scriptural style is slightly jarring. Soft illustrations.
This book has lengthy text, plenty of Biblical quotes and beautiful illustrations. The text is so long I rarely read it, tending to give to an older child to read to themselves. Told mostly in a dialogue style between a child and his parents, not Catholic in tone. 2 Star
The First Easter – Carol Heyer
Clear illustrations with straightforward text describing Holy Week and Easter. The Last Supper needs some alteration for clarity to reflect our Catholic worldview, this book bothers me a little. Easy for the younger children to follow. 2.5 Star
Introduction to the Liturgical Year – Inos Biffi
My friend Jenn has urged me to collect all of InosBiffi’s books, when I purchased this one I was very pleased I did. (Thanks Jenn) To be used throughout the whole liturgical year. We read several pertinent pages . Extremely in depth and yet concise. The illustrations have an iconic feel.
Excellent!! 5 Star+!
The Way of the Cross – Inos Biffi
Another excellent book of Biffi’s. Perfect for children to gain an indepth understanding of their Faith, by no means watered down.
Excellent! 5 Star+!
The Legend of the Easter Egg – Lori Walburg
By the same author as ‘The Legend of the Candy Cane’. Written for little ones to explain the meaning of Easter. I was disappointed as it wasn’t as well done as the ‘Candy Cane.’ 3 Star
Rechenka’s Eggs – Patricia Polacco
Vibrant pictures depicting the decorative beauty of Ukrainian painted eggs. The tale of Babushka who is preparing her eggs for the Easter Festival when she takes in an injured goose who shows her miracles happen. We enjoy looking at the pictures for inspiration when we paint our eggs. 5 Star
The Egg Tree – Katherine Milhous
Katy is on an egg hunt on Easter morning at her Grandmom’s when she finds a special set of eggs. Grandmom decided to hang the eggs from the branches of a tiny tree – an Egg Tree, beginning a very special Easter tradition. 4 Star
Easter Eggs for Anya – Virginia Kroll
Another new purchase, Anya’s family is too poor to buy eggs to decorate then Anya finds goose eggs and plans a surprise for her family. But God has an even better surprise in store. My children were mesmerised. The illustrations are very colourful, informative information about pysanky eggs and their symbolism. 5 Star
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes – Marjorie Flack
A fun tale about five Easter Bunnies who delivered eggs to all the boys and girls. 3 Star
Vinegar Boy – Alberta Hawse
This as our Lenten read aloud each year. The story of a disfigured boy who takes the vinegar to Christ on the Cross and his life is changed forever.
*I’d love any other read aloud recommendations.
The Spear – Louis de Wohl,
For the older reader by one of my favourite authors. The last days of Christ, climaxing at the Crucifixion written from the eyes of the soldier, Longinus, who pierced Christ on the Cross.
The Robe – Lloyd C Douglas
The story of a soldier’s quest to find truth in a corrupt world. The soldier Marcellus, wins Christ robe during the Crucifixion, thus begins his quest.
The Big Fisherman – Lloyd C Douglas
Set before the robe, this book focuses on Peter although not exclusively.
The Silver Chalice – Thomas B Costain
The story of Basil of Antioch who was commissioned to make the casing for the Chalice Jesus used at the Last Supper. Basil travels to Rome to meet the apostles, braves persecution and makes a fateful choice.