If there’s any approach to telling a Bible story that makes me immediately suspicious, it’s the one where an author frames the story within a neat moral. And if there’s any approach to telling a Bible story that means well but often gets things awfully wrong, it’s the one where an author whisks a character off the sidelines and tells the story through that character’s eyes.
And yet, if there’s any author out there who can masterfully wield both of those approaches in the same book, it’s RC Sproul, author of countless books on theology for both children and adults.
In The Donkey Who Carried a King, the previously side-lined character is, obviously, the donkey of Palm Sunday fame. The neat moral is—well, I’ll let you read it for yourself. But it works well with the story, that’s the part I’d like to emphasize. And it’s the sort of moral we want to bring home to our kids.
Sproul takes this seemingly unappreciated donkey and uses him to tell a crucial part of The Big Story, reminding us gently that it was precisely the quality that the donkey, Davey, most lamented in himself that made him most suited to carry a king. Chuck Groenick’s illustrations bring a delightful depth to the story as well, amplifying Sproul’s words with color and texture.
We—that is, I—have a penchant for buying books at the slightest provocation (I’ve written about this before), and one of the seasons that brings this penchant to the forefront is Easter, when I often buy a new Easter book or two for our Lenten enjoyment, as well as a new, theologically rich book for each child to open on Easter morning and read all year round. The Donkey Who Carried a King met both requirements: lately, Sarah has been smitten with two of Sproul’s other books, The Prince’s Poison Cup and The Lightlings, so we picked this one for her, thinking it would make a great year-round reminder of the Cross.
In case you missed it: yes, our children get books on Easter morning, plus, like, two pieces of chocolate or something. We have our priorities. And Phoebe, who can’t eat chocolate, will be getting one of these:
The Donkey Who Carried a King
R.C. Sproul, Chuck Groenink (2012)