Monday, 28 January 2013

Book review: Children's book, Uncle Jesus

Georgia Lee Anderson
ISBN: 978-1-57258-791-5

From the back cover:

Uncle Jesus is a heartwarming story that helps us imagine what it would have been like to be Jesus’ relative while He lived on earth. Jesus had brothers, including one named Jude, the author of the Bible book of the same name. In Uncle Jesus, Jude’s fictional son, Shem, visits Grandma Mary, the mother of Jesus, and relates some first-hand experiences he had with his Uncle Jesus when He was still on earth. An inquisitive, genuine, sweet little boy, Shem asks Grandma Mary about Jesus, about his other uncles’ view of Jesus, and about her own experiences.

My reflections:
 I was excited to read this book to my children, like all books I receive I pre- read them first. The ages of my children are 12, 10 and 5.

 While I enjoyed the pictures and vocabulary in this book for children, I can’t honestly say I would recommend this book for small children.

Though this book is a fictional story about Shem and his Grandma Mary (Jesus’s mother) and the memories and life they share about Jesus. I found the book confusing to the targeted age group. (2-8) 

I am no theologian or scholar, just a simple home school mom, but the fact that this book tells about Jesus’s older brothers, negates the fact that Mary was actually a virgin, when she married Joseph. 
I did some research and found nothing that states Jesus having older siblings, or that Joseph had sons when he married Mary. Here are a few verses I found.
Matthew 1:24-25 - "And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus."
 Matthew 12:46-47 - "While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You."
 Matthew 13:55 - "Is not this the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?"
 Mark 6:2-3 - "And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?"
 John 2:12 - "After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days."
 Acts 1:14 - "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."
 1 Cor. 9:4-5 - "Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?"
Gal. 1:19 - But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lords brother."

I know this book is intended to be a fictional account, but we must be careful on how we interpret biblical truths, and the way we present them to young tender hearts.

I found It also misses the mark on explaining in a functional way the fact that Jesus arose from the dead. This is huge for me because without this clear and fundamental belief, our children can't grasp the concept of Jesus living on in our hearts, and is just not dead. A terribly hard concept to get at the best of times. The book did depict Shem praying to Jesus, but I would have loved to see a clear explanation.   

So all in all I will not be sharing this book with my children as intended.

All that being said I found the illustrations in this book to be pretty, they cover the entire page with bright and engaging pictures. Also the book is a nice size for story time at 22 pages of narrative. If nothing else this book would engage a good dialogue and help you to reinforce the aspects of faith that you want to teach your children.

I received this book free from the publisher through the book reviews program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Thank you BookCrash!

About the Author:

Although currently living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Georgia Lee Anderson has called Chehalis,Washington, home for more than thirty years. Over the years she has been active in heading up the Sabbath School program at her church and leading out in women's ministry programs at her local church and at the conference level.
In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry and short stories. Uncle Jesus has been forming in her imagination for quite some time. Once she retired it came to life. "My reason for writing this story is that I want children to know that Jesus has a family. He lived like most boys in his neighborhood. I want children to embrace the fact that they can relate to Jesus."

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