Elspeth Campbell Murphy, Author HAPPY EASTER, GODElspeth Camp $7.99 (32p) ISBN 0-7642-2386-0

Murphy (Chalkdust) pairs 14 light poems with biblical verses, to often discordant effect. Next to the verse in Acts 13, "Then they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb," a giddy poem, "Easter Greeting," appears: "You hand me the prettiest egg you can see./ 'Christ is risen,'/ You say to me." Meanwhile, using a candy-bright palette and a cartoonish style, Lewis depicts a politically correct cast of characters (Latino-, Asian-, African-American children—even a paraplegic) holding up Easter eggs or settling into a story circle at Sunday school. The most successful spread pairs a quote from Matthew 28:5–6a ("He is not here. He has risen from death as he said he would") and a poem called "Jerusalem," which describes a pilgrimage to view Christ's tomb and the discovery that the tomb is empty. The use of recurring phrases in the poem creates a joyful singsongy quality that jars with the mood of the mourners making the trek, but the illustration accurately depicts the awe of the women being greeted by an angel at the tomb's opening. Although the painting is a departure from the artist's other works here, it is by far the strongest. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/19/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001
Genre: Children's
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