Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg, written by Terri DeGezelle and published by Pauline Books and Media, will make the perfect addition to any Easter basket. The book spreads 25 pages, including biographical information on Simon and a prayer for courage and compassion at the end.
The illustrations, by Gabhor Utomo, will speak to children and adults, giving a deep sense of place and the times, as well as the grit and compassion circling the carrying of the cross. The story unfolds to tell the story of Simon helping Jesus, and it also hits children where they live. It explains the meaning of the different colors of eggs they see in their Easter baskets every year, the same colors Simon saw so many years ago.
I was delighted to see this book come on the market. There are a lot of picture books that tell the story of Jesus and the manger to guide young children. From these stories, they recognize the little knickknacks of mangers with tiny animals, three kings, and the baby Jesus when they see them at holidays. Therefore, every time they see the little knickknacks, they think of the story of Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus.
But you don't see as many books take the Easter holiday and not only tell of its history, but bring something that kids look forward to every year, colored eggs, into the history, so the children will have a new understanding every time they set out to dye eggs.
Generally, I give an analytical review of picture books, discussing the amount of text versus illustrations, symbolism, rhyme or rhythm, or whatever will aid new writers in writing picture books. But this book is special. It's going to bring new meaning to a common custom––dying eggs––to so many children. For that reason, I'm skipping the analytical review until a future date and just discussing the things readers will enjoy about the book. I wanted to be sure you all had time to get a copy or two.