A Book Review from Books At a Glance
By Kristin Stiles
A picture book combines text and illustrations to tell a story. A good picture book integrates the text and illustrations in such a way that the story is enhanced by both and would be much less if one or the other were missing. A great picture book entwines the text and the illustrations to the point where they magnify and deepen each other. A fantastic picture book does all that while sharing important and accurate Bible truths. The Friend Who Forgives is a fantastic picture book!
It all starts with the title: The Friend Who Forgives: A True Story About How Peter Failed and Jesus Forgave. I was immediately struck and impressed with the word “true.” It was even underlined in red to catch my attention. Not only is this story historically true, but it is also true in the sense that even though it is so hard to believe, it really happened. And because it really happened, it can happen again and again for me and for everyone else who has ever failed.
The simple text of the book follows the character and experiences of Peter, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. We quickly get the message that Peter is not a paragon of virtue. He says the wrong thing at the wrong time. He acts without thinking. He gets angry and lets it show. He even betrays his very best friend when that friend needs him the most. Failings upon failings. But his friend happens to be Jesus, and Jesus forgives again and again even though Peter doesn’t deserve it. Because of Jesus’ great love for Peter, he can go tell others about the God that forgives. And because of Jesus’ great love for us, we can be forgiven when we fail, too.
I have to tell you about the illustrations, though. Catalina Echeverri did a masterful job illustrating this book. Her drawings are whimsical and clever and provide an avenue for going much deeper into Peter’s life than what is contained in the text. Echeverri clearly put a great deal of thought into these pictures and she conveys so much with them. She shows what Peter says and thinks and how it affects those around him. She illustrates miracles and events that are only alluded to in the text. This allows parents or teachers to expound on these stories adding another layer to the book. She incorporates this cute little rooster who reacts to Peter’s actions during Jesus’ arrest and trial that brings more interest to those drawings. These are illustrations that you want to look at and study again and again.
Great text intertwined with great illustrations telling a great story of forgiveness. What an all-around wonderful book!
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.
Buy the books
THE FRIEND WHO FORGIVES, by Dan DeWitt