TITLE: The Bible for Little Ones
AUTHOR + ILLUSTRATOR: Maite Roche
PUBLISHED BY: Ignatius Press and Magnificat
PURCHASE: Ignatius Press, Magnificat
Ah! I am so excited today to be finally sharing with you the first of many new religious picture books published by Ignatius Press in conjunction with Magnificat. I've known about this project for some time, and the books have just been released, in time for your early holiday shopping. They were originally published by Magnificat in France, and Ignatius jumped at the chance to bring them to the US. I, for one, am grateful, since there are so few really quality religious picture books.
The first book I opened of these 8 titles was the chubby, cheerfully illustrated board book The Bible for Little Ones. And I was hooked by the second spread, which shows (below) the fall of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve stare at the serpent, and cling to the apple. Their posture is striking: upright, hands raised, eyes wide with wonder and temptation. But what struck me the most were the animals: helpless, they look on the scene, crowding around, and gazing with wide eyes, their mouths open in shock. The Monkey reaches out to stop them. But they cannot speak, they can only watch.
I've often remarked on the prevalence of animals in children's books. In religious books, even, we see more books about Noah's Ark or the animals in the stable or Saint Francis and the animals than we do about anything else. In this one image, Roche captures the child's natural interest in animals, and through that reveals a penetrating truth about our fall: that it affected the whole world.
They have also released two prayer books by Maite Roche: My First Prayers for my Family and My First Prayers for Christmas. I feel ill-equipped to judge them, as I don't have a child to pray them with, but I see nothing wrong with them, either. (UPDATE: My friend JH says: "The prayer books have been a hit with our toddlers. The prayers are simple and you can pick one each night to do with the kids (age 2 and 4). Of course, they can't read yet, but the language is simple enough that they get the gist of what the prayer means.")