There is something special about the first books we read with our children. Whenever I see some of those early favorites peeking out from a basket at home or on the shelf at our library, I’m transported back in time to chubby, dimpled fingers and soft, sweet-smelling heads of silky hair bent over the pages. I have spent hours poring over those familiar pictures with each of my children, hearing their little voices demand “Again!” at the end of their favorite books.
Our most beloved books have always had beautiful pictures. Especially in religious books, the pictures are so important. They can shape the way our children view God and themselves in relationship to Him. Our family has treasured the books by French writer and illustrator Maïte Roche for this very reason. Her illustrations of Jesus are captivating- His face is full of life, love and welcome.
Roche’s two new books, Christmas! and Our Father, have already become favorites of our youngest children. The illustrations are beautiful and spark the imagination. Christmas! traces the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus in simple, clear phrases, beginning with shepherds in a field and ending with the journey of the Wise Men in progress on the last page. The characters and scenes invite the reader into the story with gorgeous colors and expansive skies. My older children spontaneously began discussing which characters they wanted to be in the story, while my youngest demanded to read the book over and over.
Our Father is a beautifully illustrated version of the prayer that Jesus taught, sometimes called The Lord’s Prayer. Like all of Maïte Roche’s work, these pictures are drawn with care and attention to detail. Roche pairs scenes from Jesus’ life with each line of the prayer. Jesus is shown at table with His disciples for “Give us this day our daily bread” and carrying His cross through a crowd for “Forgive us our trespasses.” My children were excited to see pictures of children in modern dress gathered around Jesus on the opening and closing pages. This inclusion of children who are dressed the way they and their friends do made it easy for them to imagine themselves gathered around Jesus and developing a relationship with Him.
Both books are study board books that seem likely to stand up to use by even the youngest book enthusiasts. These books would be appropriate for children from birth and up (to whatever age your children begin to feel that board books are “too young” for them). In our family, everyone still reads board books to younger siblings, so we don’t consider them babyish- some of ours are still family favorites that everyone enjoys.
I hope these two new books will find their way into the hearts and homes of many families this year, whether they are old friends of Maïte Roche’s work or are just discovering her for the first time. I know they will be in our regular rotation for many years to come.
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Disclaimer: I was provided with copies of these books by the publisher for review. All thoughts are my own, and I was not compensated for them.
Copyright 2015 Abbey Dupuy. All rights reserved.
Image copyright 2015 Abbey Dupuy. All rights reserved.
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