Category: Other Holidays (page 2 of 2)

The Story of Esther | Eric A. Kimmel

Genocide. Execution. Arranged marriage. With themes like these, I can understand why there are few children’s version of the story of Esther on the market. And yet, it features a girl rich in courage and true beauty, a man whose life is a perfect illustration of the proverb “Pride comes before a fall,” and a God who, though unnamed in the story, orchestrates his people’s salvation in a lovely, symmetrical way. By dodging the darker themes, we sometimes miss the pulsing light running right through the heart of the story.

The Story of Esther | Little Book, Big Story

Eric Kimmel’s telling handles both aspects of the story gracefully. He manages to provide a thorough version that is (in the most important parts) faithful to the Bible, without burdening the story with unnecessary detail. There is a sense of motion to the narrative, perhaps due to Jill Weber’s illustrations: the characters are so expressive and animated that the story whisks along at the clip maintained by the Biblical book.

The characters are among my favorite in the Bible: Esther, the reluctant queen; Mordecai, a man faithful and full of integrity; Artaxerxes, a volatile king often portrayed as foolish, and perhaps rightfully so; and Haman, the perfect villain with a fitting end. I am so drawn to this story that I read any version I can get my hands on, and I can safely say that Kimmel’s is my favorite.

The Story of Esther | Little Book, Big Story

The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale
Eric A. Kimmel, Jill Weber (2011)

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland | Tomie dePaola

Pop quiz: in twenty words or less, why do we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

If your answer is full of elipses and mumbled words like “leprecans,” “Ireland” or “some dude named Patrick,” then you’re sitting in the same boat I was before I came across Patrick: the Patron Saint of Ireland.

A few months back, it occurred to me that a number of our holidays are based upon some fascinating figures in church history, figures with challenging and inspiring stories that have, for the most part, been overshadowed by frothy glasses of Guinness and conversation hearts. So when I gave some thought to how we would celebrate these holidays in our family, I found the answer right there on the calendar in front of me: St. Patrick. Who was that guy, anyway?

And that is where Tomie dePaola comes in.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland | Little Book, Big Story

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland tells the story of Patrick’s life, neatly divided into biography—and one full of adventure, at that—and legend, as dePaola uses the latter pages of the book to detail the different legends surrounding the life of Patrick. It is, of course illustrated in dePaola’s unique style, and the pictures tell the story with as much punch and detail as the narrative.

This is a great book to read around St. Patrick’s Day, yes, but it makes for fascinating reading all year round, as it provides you with an opportunity to teach your little one about the saints that have gone before us.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland | Little Book, Big Story

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland
Tomie de Paola (1994)