I was sent a copy of The Flowering Cross and asked to review it. It is a beautiful picture book for children by Beth Ryan and illustrated by Renee Graef.
Katie is excited about Easter and another opportunity to practice her church's yearly tradition of taking flowers to church to place on a cross. Katie and her family live next door to a lonely, bitter man named Papa Jack. Katie and her family are, seemingly, the only people who reach out to Papa Jack, taking pies, soup and pictures to him. As a result Katie and her brother, NoNo, have gotten to know Papa Jack. Katie's flowers for the Easter cross come from Papa Jack's beautiful garden.
Every year Katie invites Papa Jack to church at Easter but Papa Jack always turns down the offer. But this year, when Katie goes to get her flowers from Papa Jack's backyard he surprisingly tells her he's going to church with her this year. On the way Katie tells Papa Jack about Jesus' gift of eternal life. Papa Jack comes to understand that Katie and her family were showing God's love through their actions. After coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ Papa Jack becomes more joyful and is more friendly.
At the back of the book the author has included directions to make your own flowering cross.
Throughout the book the author has sprinkled Faith Imprints, which include a scripture and a suggestion for parents to discuss with their children. For example, on the page where Katie's mom tells her to take a bath and go get her flowers at Papa Jack's the Faith Imprint says "Share how Katie did what her mother told her to do." The scripture is "Children, obey your parents the way the Lord wants. This is the right thing to do." (Ephesians 6:1) The pictures are brilliant and colorful and the women and girls are all modestly dressed. The only thing I think the book lacked was explaining that Jesus died for our sins and that we are all sinners. It simply says that Jesus died because God loved us and so that we could live in heaven with Jesus. There is a Faith Imprint on this page so that parents can share more but if a parent doesn't know about Jesus and salvation a very important ingredient would be missed.
I would highly recommend tucking a copy of this book into your child's Easter basket and also strongly endorse putting The Faith Imprints to use.