The church has always used catechisms to teach the message of the Bible. As an aid to teaching catechisms, Lexham Press began a Christian Essentials series on the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and Baptism. The series is really well done, but catechisms weren’t only meant for adults but for children too! Lexham is producing a series of Christian Essentials for children. And it revolves around a fat cat.
No, not Garfield.
Unlike his orange cousin, FatCat is a friendly feline who throughout the book learns the Apostles’ Creed―the earliest summary of the apostles’ teaching. The catechism is “fat” because it is “bursting at the seams with meaning, challenge, and comfort.” FatCat makes the catechism approachable, as kids can look for FatCat on each page while hearing their parents relay the theology of the apostles. Just as FatCat hides throughout the book, so you and your child can “hide the words of the catechism in your hearts.”
Ben Myers wrote the larger volume for adults, but he has a knack for bringing these truths down to a level children can understand. He tells us that when Jesus died on the cross, he wasn’t pretending. He really died! And he did it freely for us. But it wasn’t the end; rather, it was God’s new beginning. He is comforting by telling us that when we die, Jesus meets us there and takes us by the hand (I’m paraphrasing). “He is God’s strong son, my strong Brother.” I was brought to tears in “He will come again to judge the living and dead.” Myers writes,
Do I need to fear the future?…
What if I make too many mistakes?
The one who died for me will be my judge.
The one who loves me will have the last word.
He has my future in his hands—
and those hands have scars for me.
The very hands that keep me secure (Jn 10:28), are the same ones that were pierced for me.
Throughout the book, Jesus is portrayed with dark-skin like a typical Middle Easterner. The colors are vibrant, and the pictures reflect interesting details. In “Suffered under Pontius Pilate,” the religious leaders point at Jesus in anger while he heals a paralytic. On the next page the crowd accuses him while Jesus, bleeding with his crown of thorns, stands before Pilate. In “Was crucified, died, and was buried,” while Jesus hangs on a cross two people (possibly John and Jesus’ mother Mary) kneel before the cross while two Roman soldiers gamble for Jesus’ clothes.
“The resurrection of the body” uses imagery from Ezekiel 37 and the “valley of dry bones.” When Jesus returns, all those who have died will rise to meet him. And in “And the life everlasting,” we live in the new creation. But what’s FatCat doing with a ruler? (Hint: look at the Bible verses in the back.)
Speaking of, after the catechetical teaching, there is a section on how families are little churches and one on family prayer which includes the Apostles’ Creed. There is a section to parents specifically about how the illustrations are meant to spark our biblical imaginations. Natasha provides a list of scriptures for each part of the Creed that “shaped and limited” her artwork.
This is a fantastic book on a fantastic subject. The Apostles’ Creed has always been an important part of learning in church (even if it hasn’t been so in every church), and this book will certainly help to begin training up the little ones (and their parents too!). This is a solid resource, and I can’t wait for the rest to come out.
- Series: FatCat
- Author: Ben Myers
- Illustrator: Natasha Kennedy
- Reading Level: 4–8 years
- Hardcover: 48 pages
- Publisher: Lexham Press (February 2, 2022)
Buy it on Amazon or from Lexham Press
Disclosure: I received this book free from Lexham Press. 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.