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Monica Portogallo shares her impressions of the new edition of a children's classic, perfect for Holy Week and Easter read-alouds.

When it comes to children’s books, particularly children’s books about Jesus, the stories are usually very explicit. This is perfectly understandable; we wouldn’t want children to miss important aspects of the story because they don’t notice or understand what the author is alluding to.

Still, it is refreshing from time to time to read a children’s story that is rather subtle and sparks conversation with little ones about what the story means. Petook: The Rooster Who Met Jesus is just that kind of children’s story.

Petook the Rooster who met Jesus-cover


In fact, although the title mentions Jesus, Caryll Houselander never refers to Jesus by name in the story. In a way, it makes sense, since roosters wouldn’t think of people by name, but by their actions. The beautiful illustrations by Tomie dePaola can help children better understand how this rooster is connected with Jesus and the Easter story. Still, I found that I needed to help my 6-year-old connect some of the dots to help him see the Biblical allusions.


A Holy Week or Easter picture book that can spark conversation about the Easter story without directly telling the Easter story. #catholicmom

Overall, Petook is a cute historical fiction story of a rooster who crossed paths with Jesus and played a role in some chicken-related stories in the Gospel. If you are looking for a Holy Week or Easter book that can spark conversation about the Easter story without directly telling the Easter story, this will be a good book to read with your little ones. 

Interior image from Petook the Rooster Who Met Jesus

As a side note: as I write this, Amazon has this book listed as the “#1 New Release in Children's Duck Books.” Don’t let that distinction fool you. There are no ducks in this story, only chickens.

Petook: The Rooster Who Met Jesus is published by Ignatius Press.

Copyright 2021 Monica Portogallo
Images courtesy of Ignatius.com