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The Friend Who Forgives: A True Story About How Peter Failed and Jesus Forgave
The story here centers around Peter and, particularly, his denial of knowing Jesus. The author, Dan DeWitt, pulls together some of the stories from Peter’s life (such as him being a fisherman and Jesus calling him to be his disciple) to give some background to Peter’s relationship with Jesus. Peter saw Jesus as a friend, but the more miracles he saw Jesus perform, the more he realized Jesus was something more. However, Peter was far from perfect. He had a mouth, and that mouth often spoke too quickly. On the night of the Last Supper, Peter denied that he was capable of denying Jesus. He loved Jesus! But only a few hours later, he denied Jesus. Three times. Jesus’ death is mentioned, but nothing related to his death or crucifixion is shown. And I think this is proper, as it would make the book too dark for children. Rather, Peter is surrounded by the darkness of night (and the rooster who crowed), saddened by his faithlessness. Of course, Jesus rises again, appears to the disciples on a beach, Peter swims over to him, they have fish for breakfast (“that’s weird”), and offers Peter the chance to say that he loves Jesus three times.
Catalina Echeverri has illustrated the other books in this series (and more books here). I enjoyed the illustrations very much. They are great! When Peter is described as having always been someone who said the wrong thing, we are given three pictures of him comparing a pregnant woman to a whale (when he was a child), saying something messy to a friend (as a teen), and gloating over a major catch of fish to other fishing buddies (as an adult). The characters are not bland and flat. They show life, surprise, sadness, fear, and joy. And once Jesus tells Peter than a rooster will crow, that rooster appears in the following scenes of Peter’s denial as a reminder to the kids that the rooster is right… around… the corner. Jesus’ words will come true.
Even though Micah doesn’t understand what’s going on, he enjoys flipping through the pages and looking at the pictures. And I like them too. One of the first things I noticed was that Jesus isn’t white. He looks like a man from the Middle East… and not a white European.
The book ends with three paragraphs on Peter and Jesus’s story, with Bible references included. I really enjoyed this book, and will be reading this to Micah for years to come. Hopefully this will help him to remember that “if you trust in Jesus, he will forgive you too—again, and again, and again.”
- Series: Tales That Tell the Truth
- Author: Dan DeWitt
- Illustrator: Catalina Echeverri
- Age Range: 3-6 years
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: The Good Book Company (September 1, 2018)
Find it on Amazon and the Good Book Company!
Find the Coloring Book on Amazon too!
Disclosure: I received this book free from The Good Book Company. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.