cover image God's Kingdom: Stories from the New Testament

God's Kingdom: Stories from the New Testament

Geraldine McCaughrean. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $20 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82488-3

This handsome companion to God's People: Stories from the Old Testament opens on a characteristically cogent and immediate note, with an explanation of the themes that comprise the New Testament: ""The four Gospels of the New Testament tell the story not just of a Jew speaking to other Jews, but of the Son of God with a message for the whole world. The rest of the New Testament recounts how that message began to spread."" McCaughrean then illuminates the key events of the New Testament in 37 chapters that are both eloquent and accessible. She remains true to her source, but also brings a warm storytelling voice and a comfortable pace-two qualities sure to attract a broad readership. McCaughrean's organization here should prove appealing (and helpful) to young readers, too; as in many children's Bibles, accounts of Jesus' birth, life, works and death are placed in an easy-to-follow chronology, and the groupings here are particularly skillful. For example, the lengthiest section unites otherwise disparate parables under the heading ""Stories Jesus Told,"" providing a sense of Jesus' role as a ""riveting storyteller."" The book's thoughtful design uses each bit of space to lovely advantage; passages from the King James Bible are quoted and referenced in the page margins; gentle spot art images appear in margins as well and also at chapter headings. And in her vibrant but gentle ink-and-watercolor paintings, Leplar largely depicts kind-faced, often smiling characters, and her tender representations of Jesus convey his singular compassion. Ages 8-up. (Feb.)