One of my all time favorite children's books is the now out of print Stories Jesus Told - parables told in a kid-captivating way. But only a handful of Jesus' parables are included in this book, so I've had my eyes open for another parable book worth adding to our family library. With Two-Minute Parables by Elena Pasquali, I've found that book.
Each parable in this book is about 4 illustrated pages, and while it's targeted to young children, it isn't dumbed down. Pasquali includes the parable of the sower and seeds, the merchant and the pearl, the building of a tower, the servant who owed money, the rich farmer, the friend who comes at midnight, the ten bridesmaids, the great feast, the prodigal son, and the vineyard workers. Sometimes the author introduces the parable by putting it into context; for example, in the story of the servant who owed money, she begins the chapter will Peter asking how many times he should forgive someone.
What I Like: Jesus' parables are so rich, it seems a shame more children's books do not retell them; I'm thankful for Pasquali's contribution in this area. Each parable is well told and my 6 year old loves this book. Best of all, it's lead to several deeply spiritual conversations between my kindergartener and myself.
What I Dislike: The illustrations by Nicola Smee are on the dull side; they aren't bad, mind you. I just wish they had more of a "wow" factor. In addition, I have two "wishes" (not really dislikes): I wish the book included scripture references, so I could easily look up a parable in the Bible. Also, the text doesn't explain the parables any more than Jesus did - which is good. But it would have been useful if suggested questions were included at the end of each chapter. Hopefully, parents will engage their children in conversations about the parables' deeper meanings without this prompting.
Overall Rating: Because the illustrations don't reach the potential of the text, I give this book a rating of "Very Good."
Kristina Seleshanko, Christian Children's Book Review