- Age Range: 4 and up
- Grade Level: Preschool and up
- Hardcover: 44 pages
- Publisher: Loyola Press (February 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0829418199
- ISBN-13: 978-0829418194
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.4 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,373,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Story of the Cross: The Stations of the Cross for Children Hardcover – February 1, 2002
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About the Author
Mary Joslin is married and has 3 grown up children. She began writing when her own children were still young and has since written books that have been published throughout the world. For Lion these include Our Father, The Tale of the Heaven Tree, Do the Angels Watch Close By?, The Merchant Enticed by the Pearl of Great Price and The Story of the Cross. She likes kayaking, canoeing and gardening. Illustrator of Best-Loved Parables and the Our Father --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
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1) One reviewer said they didn't like the illustrations in this book, but I really liked them. There are very colorful drawings, with characters with very expressive faces. I can see how these would appeal to children of all ages.
2) This book gives a five page history of the life of Christ, leading up to His condemnation and death. I found it helpful because it gives the Stations of the Cross some context for little ones who may not already know of the life of Jesus.
3) All 14 Stations are included, and have a short prayer/meditation after the stations conclusion. For example, at Station 3: "Jesus Falls for the First Time Under the Cross", the ending meditation reads: "Dear God, I try to follow Jesus, but sometimes I fail and fall. May I know in my heart that Jesus is always with me." I really loved and appreciated the wording in a lot of the meditations after some of the Stations. Many were very wonderfully worded and appropriate for the target age range of 2-7.
1) The Suffering of Jesus is minimized. There is no mention of blood or Christ bleeding anywhere in the text. Jesus wears a crown of thorns, but is not bleeding.
The 6th Station, Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus, says:
"Jesus could barely see the way ahead. His eyes were clouded with sweat. He tried to wipe it away but only smeared it with the dust from his hands. Then a woman stepped forward and gently wiped his face with a cloth."
There is no hint of a previous scourging or beating ( I am aware it's not part of the 14 Stations, but it is Biblical.), The illustrated Jesus merely has a sad look on his face and dirt on his clothes. He carries a heavy cross and falls three times. Then when he's nailed to the cross, the illustration goes from full color in the previous illustrations to a shadow-figure crucifixion on a faraway hill. I'm not advocating showing a realistic crucifixion scene in a children's book, but I am saying that it could have been done in a way to make the point that Jesus was bleeding, pierced and in pain without overdoing it.
In the 12th Station, "Jesus Dies Upon the Cross", the illustration is of Mary and John the disciple weeping alone. Where is Jesus??
If the reason for treatment of the crucifixion was that children would not be mature enough to handle death and suffering, why would you be reading a book of meditation on the Stations of the Cross?? By definition,the Stations of the Cross are about the suffering and death of Jesus Christ!!
2) The Higher Purpose for Jesus' Suffering is not mention. There is NO mention of Sin, Redemption or even of Jesus being the Savior or Messiah. Not once did it say that Jesus died for our sins or that He redeemed the world, was the Savior of the world, etc. With a subject like this, leaving out that very key point is just silly.
3) Going along with #2, is that this book ignores totally and completely Jesus' Divinity, that He was the Son of God. The text heavily implies that He was merely a good, innocent man who loved God, did God's will, and was put to death for no good reason.
The First Station says:
"What has Jesus done? He had come with stories and wisdom. He had come with healing and forgiveness. He had come to make people friends with God. But not everyone welcomed the things he said and the things he did. There were whispers and lies. There was anger and spite. Jesus was condemned to death."
Even the prologue to the Stations, (which I loved because it provided a good background to why the Passion of Christ was taking place) was flawed in this way because it never said that Jesus said He was the Messiah. But what it does say (paraphrased) is that Jesus did miracles and was treated like a hero, and for that, some were jealous and wanted to put Him to death.
There is a "conclusion" after the 14th Station that talks about the Resurrection and even the Ascension, but it too misses the mark. It just says that Jesus came back and appeared to His friends for 40 days and then "Jesus' friends saw him being taken up to heaven." On this page there is a picture of the resurrected Jesus breaking bread with other people, but sadly there are no nail marks on His hands indicating that He was crucified at all.
The overall feeling I had after reading the book is that children are to believe that Jesus was a good and righteous man who was falsely accused and put to death, and is someone that we should emulate...but not too differently than you would emulate Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr. Nothing to hint at the fact that He is the Third Peron in the Holy Trinity. Nothing at all to lead you to believe that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Unfortunately, I can't recommend this book. Devout Christians and Catholics, be forewarned. To salvage this book for our use this year during Lent (since I'm out the money anyway and don't want to give it away), I think we're going to let the kids look at the pictures (since I like them so much) and use other Stations of the Cross explanations and meditations we find online that are more appropriate.
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