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The Storm That Stopped: A True Story About Who Jesus Really Is
Main Story and Illustrations
It’s difficult to separate Mitchell and Echeverri’s roles in this book, so I won’t separate the two like I did on my review of The Friend Who Forgives.
Alison Mitchell retells the story from Mark 4 when Jesus teaches the crowd about the kingdom of God (4:1-34) and when he teaches his disciples about how he rules in that kingdom (4:35-41). The first part is summed up in a few pages; the book’s focus is on the disciples who, with Jesus, are trying to cross the sea of Galilee. All is well and good until the big storm comes upon them (and Jesus remains asleep). I won’t rehearse the story since it follows what happens in Mark 4, but Mitchell doesn’t just recount the story word for word. She helps to make it come alive for children (and adults). The crew is on the water which “gently lapped against the boat, and the sun slowly set in the sky” while Jesus “lay down in the back of the boat and fell fast asleep.”
Once the storm awakens the tension heightens as she tells of how everything becomes
so much bigger
and more frightful.
The disciples fear and complain to Jesus that he doesn’t care. Mitchell points out, making sure her little readers understand, that Jesus does love them because “one day he was going to die for them.” Jesus had said “let’s go over to the other side of the sea.” Over, not under.
The illustrations throughout the book really draw on the tension. The sea is calm… placid… tranquil. Until it immediately (like, on the very next page) became a ferocious storm. (Perhaps this visually plays on Mark’s constant use of the word “immediately.”) After the disciples question Jesus’ love for them, there is even a page with four “o’meters”: the wind o’meter, the wave o’meter, the sink o’meter,, and the panic o’meter, with each meter up in the red zone. On the side of each meter is the cutout of a disciple, each one also being filled to the brim with water, representing that the situation on the boat was in a state of emergency. It’s a very clever page that kids (and adults) will enjoy.
Also brilliant were the last few pages. As you can see below, God is placed in the center, with the images in the outer bubbles expressing those things over which he has power: wind, water, animals, the stars, etc.
The next page gives the same image only with Jesus in the middle. Jesus has the same power over the very same things as God. The final page shows that the stars, constellations, and the boat and those in it are in God’s hands. Jesus is God, and all things are upheld by him.
I learned Jesus was God when I was a kid, but I didn’t see the connections with some of the miracles he performed. God had power over these things in the Old Testament. That Jesus has the same power shows a layer of his divine connection with God. It’s wonderful for children to learn this at an early age and to see that Jesus’ miracles pointed to something greater.
This book gives a good visual representation of Jesus calming the sea, in how frightening the storm was, how frightened the disciples were, and how unworried Jesus was. He was as calm as the waters had been and would be again. The disciples would get to the other side, but through their troubles they learned a great deal more about Jesus. They learned that he not only taught about God’s kingdom, but they were beginning to learn that he ruled God’s kingdom. Hopefully this book will be one more stepping stone Jesus will use to reach your child’s heart.
- Series: Tales That Tell the Truth
- Author: Alison Mitchell
- Illustrator: Catalina Echeverri
- Age Range: 3-6 years
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: The Good Book Company (February 1, 2016)
- Take a Look Inside
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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.