cover image Water Come Down

Water Come Down

Walter Wangerin, Jr.. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, $17.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8066-3711-2

Tackling complex theological issues, this illuminating book for the most part succeeds in introducing children to the concepts surrounding baptism. As Wangerin (Probity Jones and the Fear Not Angel) explains, his approach is structured on a passage from Romans 8: ""The creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God."" Here, benevolently personified, the sun, a cloud, rain, wind, seed and water take turns describing their contributions to a child's baptism as they welcome the child into creation. Their words exemplify concepts of resurrection and growth, although Wangerin includes one somewhat discordant reference to the cleansing aspects of baptism: ""I am the water they washed you in/... Clean from the devil! Clean from sin."" Odd grammar (""I am the water went under the ground"") and occasional cutesiness mar what is otherwise graceful, stirring verse: ""I rode the wind to the edge of the skies/ And cried to the sun, `Sun, shine on me/ For the child below, so the child can see/ A flaming raining-bow!'"" Suz n (Butterfly Boy), in his friendly, candy-colored illustrations, joins Wangerin in stressing baptism as a dramatic entrance into the community of faith. It's a lot to take in, but Wangerin provides several pages of excellent resources for family Bible study, exploring the scriptural sources behind his story and making the theological concepts both accessible and engaging. All ages. (Sept.)