My Friend Jesus is a well-produced and attractively boxed set of four board books. Each ten-page book deals with a different aspect of Jesus' life and ministry, as indicated by the titles: "The Life of Jesus", "Stories of Jesus", "Miracles of Jesus" and "Friends of Jesus". As the back-cover blurb says, the books are designed to help young children learn about Jesus.
Each book tells five short stories. Each of these is illustrated by a large double-page, clearly drawn picture that depicts a central aspect of that story. Children will enjoy these bright and cheerful pictures and the friendly faces with which the people are shown.
The stories are told in two short sentences. These give the main point of the story and explain something of its significance in a way that should be understandable to small children: "The boy was sad he had been naughty. God forgives us when we say we're sorry," for the Prodigal Son, for example. Words and concepts are kept very simple without losing the main message. Difficult theological events and truths are related to the experience of children. Thus the death and resurrection of Jesus in "The Life of Jesus" are combined with his having breakfast with his disciples: "Jesus was killed but God brought Him back to life. His friends had breakfast with Him." In almost every case the stories conclude with a question which can be answered by looking at the pictures: "Can you see Jesus on the beach?", for example. The one exception to this is the last story in the "Friends of Jesus" book, which concludes by asking, "Is Jesus your friend?"
My Friend Jesus is a simple yet thoughtful introduction to the gospel for pre-schoolers. It could also be used to provide good devotional material for the younger threes.
Claudia Kirby, April 2007
Claudia Kirby trained in Germany as a social worker and subsequently completed an MA in theology. Now the mother of two young sons, she lives with her husband, Jeremy Kirby, who teaches at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Siegen, Germany.Order from www.christianbookshops.org