He’s Risen! He’s Alive!
Author: Joanne E. Bader
Illustrator: Richard Heroldt
Publisher: Arch Books
Age Range: 5 – 9
Jesus Washes Peter’s Feet
Author: Glynes Balec
Illustrator: Unada Gliewe
Publisher: Arch Books
Age Range: 5-9
I eagerly anticipated these two little books from Arch Books. They were really cheap for a start, which makes a difference here in Australia when compared to some of the exorbitant prices we pay for Catholic children’s books from overseas. So, when they arrived, I sat down to peruse them with a cheerfully hopeful heart. Alas! I was very disappointed.
Now people who have read these little reviews that I write will know that I very rarely say anything negative. If I don’t particularly think a book is appropriate or good enough, I usually just don’t talk about it. I decided to make an exception for these two little books. I didn’t like them, and I want other people to be aware of what you are getting before you invest.
He’s Risen! He’s Alive! was published eighteen years ago. The rhyming couplets are mediocre at best and positively terrible sometimes. Like this:
“At break of dawn that Sunday morn,
The first day of the week,
Two women went to see the grave
To take another peek.”
To take another peek? Seriously?
I honestly think that the story could have been more carefully crafted without rhyming couplets. My sense of the writing is that children will have trouble understanding some of the story because the words are obviously straining to fit the rhyme. The illustrations are OK; but the overall feel of the book is simply – second rate.
Moving along to Jesus washes Peter’s Feet. It was published twenty one years ago and It’s downright terrible. I’ve never read words that strain so desperately hard to fit together and fail. Oh my goodness! Once again, this story could have been more simply conveyed without the attempts at rhyming. When compared to the beauty and simplicity of Laura Alary’s words in the Easter book, “Make room: A child’s guide to Lent and Easter”… well there is no comparison.
The illustrations in “Jesus Washes Peterr’s Feet” were more consistent and endearing than the first book, but they don’t make up for the bad storytelling.
What these books indicate to me is that there is a desperate need for more Catholic children’s stories about Easter. Rhyming couplets work for some stories, but I felt that the style of writing was actually detracting from the story rather than aiding in the storytelling. I don’t recommend them. At all.