“Why Easter?” by Barbara Reaoch and illustrated by Carol MCCarty (Shepherd Press, 2012) should have been just the book I was looking for to recommend as a family devotional. The 4 week plan has a Scripture reading for each day, followed by a devotion, and what the author calls the Truth, as short pithy statement that encapsulates the Scripture passage. She also includes some discussion questions for each day, and for each week there is a scripture passage to memorize. Each day’s lesson closes with a hymn that the family can sing together.
The scripture passages that Reaoch has chosen tell the story, starting with the story of Jesus calling Lazarus from the grave, through the events of the Passion Week and the Resurrection and concludes with some of the post resurrection appearances and commissioning statements. The passages are the appropriate ones needed to tell the story, and theologically her devotional comments are sound, and written at an age appropriate level. Some of the discussion questions seemed overly simplistic, while others seemed to be more mature than I would expect for young children. Perhaps ages of the grandchildren she was writing for covered a longer range than I imagined.
I liked the concept, but somehow the layout seemed dated to me. The illustrations are the same style that I remember from my childhood, and when I asked my college-aged son what time frame the illustrations were drawn in, he suggested that they were probably from the 60’s or 70’s. The hymns also seemed a bit mature for young children. (I pastor a church where we sing some of these hymns, but the kids in Sunday school aren’t learning them.)
I’m hard put to decide what age group this works for. The comments seem to be for one age group, the discussion questions for another, and the hymns for still another. There is nothing to really dislike, but for me the pieces don’t fit together well enough that I can offer a rave review.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Cross Focused Blogger Review 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.