Oh, how we love lift-the-flap books!
Who can resist peeking behind those little cardstock doors to see surprise scenes?
The Time of Jesus is a large board-book, with eight two-page spreads, and each spread has between two and seven flaps to lift. The illustrations are busy with people and animals and daily life going on.
The first is "A Stable at Bethlehem," and this spread includes travelers and a tiny donkey and puppies- count them 1,2,3,4,5!
(When you lift a small flap here, you see a mother hen and her chicks. The text says "Perhaps there were baby animals in the stable!")
The next one is "At Home in Nazareth," with women coming from the well and children playing games. Lifting the flaps reveals the inside of a synagogue and a carpenter's shop.
There is one, "By the Shore of Lake Galilee," and we see hard-working fishermen in their boats, Roman soldiers on shore, and children splashing in the water. Can you spy the goat stealing herbs from a woman's basket and a cat making off with a fish?
Then there's "Farm Country." A vineyard with a watchtower, a sheepfold, and a man sowing seeds. Again, kids can count the animals- birds, oxen, chicken, and yet another puppy.
Then there's "A Rich Man's Feast." This one shows honored guests and servants, around a bountiful table. Life the flaps to see the kitchen!
"The Temple in Jerusalem." This one shows priests with a shofar, penitents- some humble, some boastful, and a widow offering her only coin.
Then there is "A Roman Trial," a scene that somedays seems to make no sense to anybody, children or otherwise. How could we kill the very One who brought nothing but Light and Love and Life? Yet behind the flaps we see Pilate washing his hands, a soldier readying a whip, and a crowd deciding to free Barabbas.
And the last one.... "A Garden Tomb." The flap reveals that the tomb is forever empty, except for two angels.
I think my favorite part of this book is the way the captions reference parables and Bible stories without quoting them in full or explaining them.
It gives YOU, as the read-aloud person, the chance to tell the Scriptural story naturally, in your own way.
This makes our faith much more personal and precious, when it is woven into our daily words, and it becomes part of our very rhythm. Children will appreciate hearing you tell the story about the treasure hidden in the field, or the hired men waiting for work in an orchard, because when you tell it without the Bible in front of you it says you own it, it says it's inside you.
So I like that. The kids gets to peel the flaps up and then hunt for the next one, and we get to narrate a different part each time.
Thank you Kregel/Lion publishing for my review copy of The Times of Jesus. It will be greatly appreciated.