My review of Simon and the Easter Miracle by Mary Joslin

Publisher: Lion UK (January 18, 2012)

Simon and the Easter Miracle tells the tale of Simon, a man who went to town to sell his farm produce, but ends up carrying the cross of Jesus up the hill when Jesus was too weak to continue to do so himself. After carrying the cross, Simon returns to where he'd put his produce but all he finds left are some eggs. The tale shares of Simon's encounter with a miracle that follows, a miracle that seems to point to the promise of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

My children were eager to gather around me as I read this book to them, exclaiming over the bright and beautiful pictures. They greatly enjoyed the vivid scenes and had many questions about Simon and the cross he had to carry. However, one of their first questions to me was when they pointed to Jesus carrying the cross and asked "Is that Jesus?". While I knew that, and many adults will know that, I am puzzled why the story would neglect to ever mention his name. In the story, Simon has an encounter with Jesus that seems bland - Simon carries the cross and then returns to his produce and his home seemingly barely moved by what occurred. I realize that this is a children's story and that it must therefore tread lightly with what Jesus experienced. However, I cannot understand how Simon could be portrayed as carrying the cross of Jesus Christ and then returning to his old life as if he's done nothing more serious than weed the garden or milk the cow. When I asked my chlidren what they thought of the story, they said they didn't really understand the point of the story. This is not something they say often, and at that point I knew that unfortunately, for our family anyway, this story missed the mark.

I give the book 2 out of 5 stars, thankful for the beautiful illustrations and an attempt to point to the miracle of Easter, but convinced that this book could have been so much more.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and the Kregel blog review program for the purposes of this unbiased review.

About the Author: Mary Joslin, published exclusively by Lion, is
known for her children's books on belief and spirituality. Her books,
which include The Story of the Cross and On That Christmas Night, have
sold more than 200,000 copies.

About the Illustrator: Anna Luraschi has illustrated a number of books
for Usborne.