Laferton, Carl. The Garden The Curtain and The Cross. The Good Book for Children, Belgium 2016. pp.33. $12.98
Complex. That word well describes the Bible. It is an assortment of 66 books written over thousands of years, in a host of different languages, by a diverse assortment of authors. Tons of books have been written in attempt to explain the Scriptures. But despite all its complex nuances, grammatical structures, historical connections, the Bible is actually a rather simple story. It is the story of the gospel; the story of good news; the story of how sinful men and women can once again have a perfect relationship with God; the story of how Jesus died on the cross to redeem on who believe on him for salvation. In fact, the central story of the Bible is so straight forward, Carl Leafeton can recount it perfectly in his new children’s book, The Garden The Curtain and The Cross.
As the title suggests, Leafton moves through theme of the Bible by focusing on three important stories. First, he focuses on the Garden of Eden. He describes how God created the world perfectly. Then, he discuss how Adam and Eve brought sin into the world because, “They decided they wanted a world without God in charge.” And because of sin, people can no longer enter into God’s wonderful place. Next, Leafton jumps to the story of the Temple to explain that God is still wonderful and still very separate from sinners. You see, the temple curtain keeps people from entering into God presence. As the author writes, “It is wonderful to live with him, but because of your sin, you can’t come in.” Thankful, the story does not end with separation. The final phase of the book focuses on the cross. Jesus came to live and to die so that He could open, “God’s wonderful place again!” Because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, those who believe on Jesus can live with God again. Just like Adam and Eve before, those who trust Jesus, “will see God and speak to God and just enjoy being with God.”
What’s To Like
The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross conveys the amazing story of the Bible in language and pictures that younger children can easily digest. The pictures are bright, colorfully, and full of movement. It takes more than a glance to see what’s there. And there will not be much down time between pages. The book can be read in about 5 minutes or less. And when the last page is closed, children will have heard that God created the world, that men and women brought evil and sadness into the world by disobeying God, and that Jesus brings us back to God by triumphing over all our bad and sad things on the cross.
And though the book’s is filled with winsome illustrations and kid friendly pros, Laferton upholds the integrity of the scriptures. He keeps his readers from thinking that the story of the Bible is just another children’s story. He clearly states on the first pages of the book that the Bible took place, “right here in this world.” The front cover says that the book contains a “true” story. And, the last page of the book provides the reader with the scripture references from which the story was taken. In short, Laferton has put the story of the Bible into a children’s book without demeaning the life changing power of the Bible. This was quite a feat! Only Kevin DeYoung has done something similar in The Biggest Story. (Both books are worth the read!)
What’s Not To Like
The only downside to Laferton’s book is that is omits the term repentance. Readers are
encouraged to believe on Jesus, but never directly to repent. However, the book does such an excellent job describing sin and the glories of justification (the truth the Jesus pays for all our sins and make us holy) readers cannot help but realize that they must abandon sin to embrace salvation.
Get this book! If you are a parent, grandparent, or Sunday school teacher who works with kids that enjoy picture books, you will want to have the book on your shelf. It recounts the gospel, the whole story of the Bible, in less than five minutes in a way that will engage our kids. Its perfect for family worship times, for bed times, and for story time. My wife and I will be reading this book to our kids! Will you join us?