All sixty-six books of the Bible weave together to tell one grand, beautiful story of God redeeming a people for Himself. This is a glorious truth for little souls, yet there are few board books for very young children that have a firm grasp on communicating this wonder. While there are many children’s books that are about the Bible, there are few that are written without either being focused on isolated Bible stories or being written as an actual Bible for children.
Carl Laferton’s The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross: The True Story of Why Jesus Died and Rose Again, however, has managed to provide for even the smallest child a telescopic view of the glorious story of God’s salvific plan. Like being stirred to praise at the Lord’s magnificence by a view of a wide swath of the night sky, Laferton’s book stirs small souls to wonder by a wide-lens view of God’s grand redemption story. With this sweeping view of God’s goodness throughout the story of the Bible, it is no wonder that Laferton’s book begins and ends with rejoicing - first in the Garden of Eden and then forever in heaven!
Being a board book, this story is simple enough for small children and can also be a helpful tool for reaching out to children who have never heard of the Gospel before. The artwork by Catalina Echeverri further enriches the story and makes it easier to comprehend. Echeverri’s bright colours and thoughtful presentation help to weave in the Gospel so that those who cannot read will understand the story and those who can read will be enriched by the truths highlighted by the pictures.
As a constructive criticism: Jesus is portrayed as a cartoonish figure which fits with the book’s style but may be unhelpful in that God is viewed only on the basis of being our friend. The marvel of God being our friend is that He is also the holy and awesome living God, but the cartoonish figures in The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross are created in such a way that do not highlight that truth well. So, while a wonderful book, the artwork and story could be clearer on the holiness of God and why exactly the cross is actually needed for people to be friends with God.
Claire Hall, Merkinch Free Church