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Wow, what a great book/DVD set! The book is the story of Easter, richly illustrated, and easy to read. By itself, it is sure to please the young reader and his or her parents. But, even better, the book comes with a DVD with a cartoon that goes along with the book, and then goes beyond it, taking the story of Jesus through His resurrection.

I must say, I enjoyed both of these items. I found them to be very well done, and sure to please a little one, like my six-year-old. She likes them, and I like them, and I like sharing them with her. We give it two thumbs up!
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VINE VOICEon March 28, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a beautiful way to teach children the story of Easter and its symbolism. The artist was gentle with her depcitions and I loved that it showed Jesus riding on a donkey (my favorite drawing). It is a great way to bring up how different cultures celebrate Easter. For example, a patient I have told me that in Guatemala they still have a procession where someone rides a donkey into town and they make rugs out of palm leaves.
Overall, a great place to start a conversation about life, love, forgiveness and family with any child in your life.
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VINE VOICEon May 4, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a great book to sit with your young child (3 +) and talk about the Palm Sunday/Easter events. Illustrations are simple, to the point. Nothing fancy. A nice feature is that at the end of each section there is a question that can prompt further discussion. Of course, the discussion will be geared to the age of the child, which is a good thing.

The DVD contains even more stories and is a nice addition to the book.

This is not a complicated theological text. Just mainly a simple way to use pictures and movies to "talk" about the Easter story. A great resource.
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on April 15, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I ordered this book, I hadn't even realized that it inclueded the DVD. It was a pleasant surprise. On Easter morning, we sat our 4 year old in front of the television and turned the video on to help "explain" Easter to her. She watched all the stories then asked to see them again. This wasn't just an Easter story, per se, but a collection of stories told separately, involving the events leading up to Easter and the ones immediately following. It gives a much better picture of what "Easter" was and how it impacted all of Jesus' followers by taking us on a brief walk through the early books of Acts and showing us the ramifications of Christs' ressurection. I was extremely impressed at how the story captured the overall message, simply in such a way that my daughter could understand, but also invited her to ask questions so we could talk about why Jesus did what he did.

I thought the book would be a carbon copy of the video content, but it was not. My daughter showed little interest in the book, at first, but after viewing the video, she wanted "more". I was pleasantly suprised to see that there was more content in the book that was not already covered in the video, which would have been redundant. Bravo.

It was especially pleasing to see that they depicted Christ on the cross at Calvary, but only in a silouhette and from a distance, which I felt was appropriate for this age. Most children of that age would be horrified to see the more graphic depiction of the event. I felt that was a good judgement on their part to allow the children to "see" the cross but not the gory details (yet). It creates a great point of reference for little ones to begin comprehending the physical cross.

The video itself is not so much like a cartoon with speaking characters, but is done as a narrative. Someone tells the story and we see the characters moving on the screen in conjunction with the voice. Again, I thought that was very appropriate for this genre of teaching. It was like listening to a story rather than watching TV. Again, well done.

Overall, I would most definitely recommend this for young children.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The rating is as much a reflection of my own inadequacy at portraying the Easter story to a 4-year-old (the Christmas story would seem much easier) as it is a rating of this latest attempt. As an adult, I've learned not to expect things to go as planned when presenting a book like this to a child. Presumably, you read the story (either episodically or all at once) followed by the "reward" of the story as animated on the enclosed DVD (give high marks to the publisher for a very secure, transparent DVD pocket attached to the inside front cover).

So for what they're worth, from an adult's perspective I had a few reservations. The text immediately threw a "big" word ("Passover") at the young receiver/listener and with no definition whatsoever. And, of course, Jesus is merely "King," not King of the Jews (the latter would be a good start toward getting at the meaning of Passover). Meanwhile, the sorts of details that a Jacob Grimm or Lewis Carroll or C. S. Lewis would see as fascinating and memorable to a child are completely missing. What about Peter's 3 lies and the cock crowing? The infamous 30 pieces of silver? The carrying of a cross? A prickly crown? A drink of vinegar? The other crucified victims whom Jesus has the presence of mind to comfort? The two women (or either one of them) who alone (among the humans) do not desert Jesus in his greatest hour of need.

While leaving out some vivid details that the child might remember, the text provides the occasional gratuitous, and even dubious, editorial comment. The book has gone home with my grandchild so I'm drawing on memory, but the story is accompanied by occasional "color" commentary to the effect that when Jesus provoked jealousy by claiming to be King, he really "was" King. Or people doubted his claims, but he really did tell "the" truth.

I notice the frequent claims by reviewers on behalf of these books that they are "accurate" representations. Of what? Which gospel? Whose interpretation of it? As parents, some of us want children to be familiar with the stories of the Old and New Testaments and to make their own interpretations. It's doubtful they'll ever make any progress toward that end if they cannot distinguish between "fact" and "truth." The great truths of the world's great literary texts should never be confused with the frail "facts" that people of different religions, classes, ethnicities, and social backgrounds interpret so differently.

I frequently encounter 18-year-olds who cannot read Emily Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for death, it stopped for me" as anything but a happy chariot ride to the golden portals of heaven when everything in the poem points to the shining and alive natural and social world that the deceased must leave behind in favor of some murky place about which she cannot possibly know anything. (Any other meaning isn't even an "interpretation" because the reader has, in effect, changed the poem by inserting her own words and images in place of the poet's.) Then there are those same readers who become so completely caught up in Tim O'Brien's realistic representation of his experiences as a soldier in Viet Nam ("The Things They Carried") they completely miss or overlook (maybe willfully) the chapter, occurring midway through the novel, in which the narrator, suddenly assuming the role of the writer, says, "By the way, everything I've just told you--about my shooting and killing another human being, considered the enemy, and how it affected me--I made it up. Those were 'story truths,' not facts."

How unfortunate if children's earliest experiences do not prepare them for reading irony--the meaning of allegory, parable, metaphor, and the most important truths--all sacrificed for something some adults claim as "literal" or "factual" and therefore holding a higher priority.

Of course, I'm an adult myself, and therefore may be more prone to error than the child who understands such things without excessive mental anguishing about it. I found the pictures somewhat mundane as well as cartoonish (though the size of the noses, I would grant, is an accurate representation of the ethnostereotype). My granddaughter, on the other hand, was clearly more absorbed (for a little while, at least) in the DVD and its moving-talking pictures than in my reading of the story.
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VINE VOICEon March 10, 2010
This complex children's book, The Story of Easter, by Gwen Ellis, tells the story surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in 32 pages. The book is divided into 13 2-page sections, which allows the parents to make a lesson of each section and/or read the book in more manageable "chunks" for younger children. Each section has scripture references at the beginning and "thought" statements at the end which allow older children to participate in the lessons. A DVD is included in this version and since it does not retell the same Easter story, it is a welcome addition with it's "6 Stories from the Life of Jesus". While the book is recommended for children ages 3 to 7, I feel it is more appropriate for ages 4 to 8.

Gwen Ellis is a wonderful storyteller. She takes a difficult subject, tackles it directly, and keeps the young reader in suspense. This book engages children immediately. Both of my children were asking questions and pointing at the pictures from the very first page. She helps parents explain the significance of both Easter and Communion. She also tackles the difficult subjects of disbelief, hatred, and death in a way that is not overwhelming. The illustrations are colorful, age appropriate, and show the emotions of the people in the story. Both the author, Gwen Ellis, and the illustrator, Steve Smallman, have been educating and entertaining children audiences for years. I would recommend this book wholeheartedly.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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on March 26, 2010
Read and Share: The Story of Easteris written to explain the story behind Easter to young children, ages 4-8. It starts with Jesus and his followers heading to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover and covers The Last Supper, Jesus' betrayal by Judas, his crucifiction, resurrection and ascent to Heaven.

My four year old daughter enjoyed this book quite a bit. It is written in a way that holds a child's attention and is easy for them to understand. The artwork is colorful and entertaining while helping to explain the story.

There are little question and information boxes on the bottom of each page which add to the storytelling experience. My four year old was not very interested in them but a slightly older child might be more inclined to try to answer the questions. The end of the book has several pictures from the story shown in a random order so the child can test their memory by putting them in chronological order.

A great addition to the book is the accompanying DVD which compliments the book perfectly. It is educational and the stories are easy for young children to understand. The animation is simple, keeping the focus on the stories.

The only thing I personally would have liked to see was a little more explanation of what Passover is. In my opinion the story seemed to start a little abruptly for a child who may not have already learned about Passover.

Overall my daughter and I really enjoyed this book and DVD, it is a very welcome addition to our ever growing library and is often included in our bedtime story rotation.

I was provided a a copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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on March 1, 2010
Are you looking for a fun and engaging way to share the Easter story with your young child? This just might be the book for you! Read and Share: The Story of Easter provides a Biblical account of the Easter story written at a level that your preschooler or toddler will understand. The book begins with the history of Passover and then continues through the Easter story up until the ascension. The story is conveniently divided into segments of scripture. Each page is bursting with interesting and colorful illustrations. The book includes a DVD with 15 minutes of animation, coloring pages and more! The story ends with a "Can You Retell the Story?" activity consisting of illustrated cards for your child to put in the correct sequence.

As a parent, I am always looking for new ways to share Biblical truths with my child. I was excited to receive this book to add to our Easter activities for this year. I love all the engaging and colorful illustrations! I also really like that scripture references are provided for each segment of the story. The wording is at a level that most preschoolers and toddlers can grasp. I personally would have preferred the wording to reflect more of "Jesus would die" rather than "Jesus would be killed." I love the ending activity of retelling the story. I know my little preschool age child will not tire of this activity any time soon. It is a perfect way to encourage a child's comprehension at this developmental stage. The fact that you get a DVD is an added bonus! I always love coloring pages and activities that I can easily print out to further accentuate what I am trying to teach my child.

See for yourself if this is a good fit for your family!
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on June 11, 2010
The Story of Easter
by: Gwen Ellis

The Story of Easter is about exactly what the title is. It starts with Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and the town people putting down palm branches. It goes through the Last Supper and when Jesus prays for help in the garden. It tells how Jesus was arrested and then questioned by Pontius
Pilate and then how Jesus died on the cross. It tells the stone was moved from Jesus' tomb and the angel telling them that He has risen.
This is a very good book for kids to learn about Easter. It uses very simple words and the print is larger. At the beginning of each section or chapter it gives the Bible verses of where the that part of the story comes from. What I really like is that is has simple questions throughout the story and little notes that give a little more information. I have a 2 year old and it's a little to advanced for her age, but it's good to expose her at an early age of such an important story. I know one day she will be reading this book on her own and learning about the whole Easter story. The book also comes with a DVD, which my daughter loves. The illustrations are colorful and fun and I would highly recommend this book to any child.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their [...] [...] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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on May 21, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is a good Christian Easter story easy-to-read and appropriate for 3 to 5-year-olds. If you're conservative Christian I don't think you'll find anything offensive or inappropriate in this book.
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