Review by Booklist Review
Ages 4-8. This beautifully illustrated picture book, which looks at Jesus' Palm Sunday arrival in Jerusalem, is narrated by the young donkey ("colt") that carries Jesus into the city. The colt describes his initial reluctance to leave his hillside home and his fear of the noisy crowd and unfamiliar village, and then he tells how Jesus' voice and presence calmed and changed him, making him want to protect the man, who he feels must be a king. At the story's end, the donkey (now old) still listens for the sound of Jesus' voice, still waits to welcome him and shelter him at the hilltop. Winch's warm illustrations, in impasto acrylic on handmade French watercolor paper, are a fine complement to the poetry of the telling. Together, art and text make a complex story accessible. An author's note sets the scene for adult readers. --Kathy Broderick
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This gentle yet unusually evocative book introduces Palm Sunday via the reminiscences of a humble donkey. McGee (Wake Up, Me) uses a prefatory note to supply background and explain the holiday; the narrative itself concentrates on creating a mood. An aging donkey tells a lamb of the day when he, then a colt on a hillside, was given to strangers "who said they needed a colt, one that had never been ridden." The animal strains mightily at being led through the loud, twisting streets and releases his fears only when Jesus ("Many called him King") comforts him. In a characteristically lyrical passage, the donkey recalls, "Happiness made my hooves tap high, and joy was in my breath. My heart welled up with wonder, like a barrel that fills with rain." Winch's (The Old Woman Who Loved to Read) folk art-style acrylic paintings reconcile the open, peaceful countryside with the noisy crowds of people. Strong-hued backgrounds, from terracotta-colored bricks to a haunting night sky, capture a sense of place while portraits of sloe-eyed animals convey a wealth of emotion. While this book may seem low in wattage compared to Fiona French's Easter (reviewed below), it is quietly and equally luminous. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 3-This sweetly imagined story centers on the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Now old and retired in a grassy field, he looks back years later, remembering his fear and sorrow at being dragged through the city and out to an olive grove on that fateful spring day. But once he feels Jesus's soothing touch and hears His calm voice, the colt bears Him joyfully and prances over the cloaks and palm branches strewn along the path as the crowd greets their king with song and dance. Loving Jesus at once, the animal longs to shelter and protect Him, to take Him home, and introduce Him to the creatures in his pasture. Although the donkey never sees Him again, he believes that Jesus will return to him. Then he will prepare a soft bed for Him, enthrone Him on the hillside, and crown Him with stars. Recognition of Jesus as the long-awaited messiah, the hope of the Second Coming, and the importance of love and peace are theological ideas skillfully woven into the poetic text, which is both simple and moving in its language and images. Bold, realistic, expressive double-page impasto acrylic illustrations, inspired by Renaissance frescoes, delineate every hair, blade of grass, and wisp of straw in intricate detail. Interesting angles and perspectives also add to the drama of the artwork. An introductory author's note relates the background of the reasons for the triumphal procession, as told in Old Testament prophesies.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
(Preschool, Primary) Frequently, biblical retellings for children, although well intentioned, are saccharine or garish or both. Here is a picture book that is neither. As told from the perspective of the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem, this anthropomorphic account of Palm Sunday is reverent in tone, restrained in execution, and thoughtfully designed. The text is rhythmic, with an aura of poetic feeling and musical intonation. The illustrations are equally engaging as they illuminate the donkey's emotions, changing from fear to love as he hopes someday that Jesus will come to his home where "my hillside will be a throne for him, / and at night the stars will weave him a crown." Even the endpapers, a collage of the cloaks strewn before the colt's feet, serve both as introduction to and thematic commentary on the events taking place. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A small donkey narrates the story of his role in the first Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem. His owner takes him to the village gate, where strangers ask for a donkey that has never been ridden. He is fearful and stubborn, but is led to a hillside, a grove of olive trees where there is a man in the midst of a crowd. The man is called Jesus and as soon as the colt sees him, he grows peaceful. He joyfully carries the man on his back with the people waving palms and throwing their cloaks on the path and the donkey knows that he is carrying a King. The donkey wishes to carry Jesus back to his hillside, where he will introduce him to his friends-the lizard, crow, cow, hen, and cricket. "My hillside will be a throne for him, and at night the stars will weave him a crown." The lovely double-paged spreads are executed with impasto acrylic on handmade French watercolor paper. The city scenes are predominantly warm sienna colors highlighting the bricks and buildings while the country scenes are mostly rich blue-green and are a pleasant contrast to the city scenes. Endpapers are the patchwork colors of the cloaks worn by the people and thrown on the path of Jesus. A foreword cites the Gospel writers who tell the story of the Palm Sunday procession, especially Zechariah, Chapter 9, Verse 9: "See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey." The palm branches and the tradition of the Palm Sunday procession are also included. A gentle story that small children and parents can enjoy together. (Picture book. 4-6)
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.