Picture Book Roundup: Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospel Music

Hiding Baby Moses, Jesus and the Very Big Surprise, and Clap Your Hands bring fresh eyes to old Truths.

Hiding Baby Moses by Judith L. Roth, illustrated by Melanie Cataldo. Flyaway Books, 2021, 32 pages.

Hiding Baby Moses

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 4-8

Recommended for: ages 4-8

With imagery reminiscent of Psalm 91, Roth imagines what it must have been like for Miriam and her mother to leave their baby in the reeds of the Nile. The themes of hiding in a strong rock and beneath the shadow of God’s wings echo Truth in this Story that is nicely told and expressively illustrated. The emotions are real without being sentimental, and Miriam and her mother actively place their trust in God without knowing what the outcome will be. Thankfully, as we already know, there is a happy ending.

Overall rating: 4 (out of 5)

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise by Randall Goodgame, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri. Good Book Company, 2021, 40 pages.

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 4-8

Recommended for: ages 4-8

God is unpredictable, to say the least, and His Son, Jesus Christ, is full of surprises. His life, ministry, conversations and stories were always unexpected, as Goodgame demonstrates in a picture-book retelling of a parable about Jesus’ second coming.

The master’s servants know what they need to do to get prepare for his return from a long journey. They know what he likes and how to make him comfortable, and they work diligently, not certain when exactly he will arrive.

But guess what? The master walks in the door and does the unexpected: he serves the servants!

Why would Jesus tell a story like that? Because He is the God who serves. He died, He rose, He is coming again, and while we wait for His return, we are encouraged to follow His example of living a life of humble service. A lovely and lively book.

Overall rating: 4.5

Clap Your Hands: A celebration of gospel by Toyomi Igus, paintings by Michele Wood. Zonderkidz, 2019, 32 pages.

Cover of Clap Your Hands picture book

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 4-8

Recommended for: ages 4-8

Gospel music has an interesting historical and cultural background, beginning with the rhythms of Africa, slavery, freedom, the founding of Black churches and influence of Jazz and Blues. The narrative is a good overview for those who are unfamiliar with the complex history and influence of gospel music, though I wonder how much of the gospel of Jesus Christ is clear in the secular performances of the traditional style of gospel music? I appreciated the insight into a culture that I am less familiar with, but I also felt like the timeline at the bottom created more of an agenda than the main text. An interesting introduction that can lead to other good picture book biographies (see below).

Overall Rating: 3.5

Read more about our ratings here.

Also at Redeemed Reader:

Review: There are more Bible story picture books in “Why Your Church Nursery Needs a Library

Review: The Good News for Little Hearts” series applies Biblical principles to everyday circumstances and helps parents point their children to Christ.

Reviews: We have reviewed other books illustrated by Catalina Echeverri. You can find them here.

We are participants in the Amazon LLC affiliate program; purchases you make through affiliate links like the one below may earn us a commission. Read more here. Please note that The Good Book Company often discounts their materials from the MSRP on Amazon; consider shopping directly from them and supporting a Christian publisher!

Buy Jesus and the Very Big Surprise directly from The Good Book Company!

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Megan Saben

Megan is Associate Editor for Redeemed Reader, and she loves nothing more than discovering Truth and Story in literature. She is the author of Something Better Coming, and is quite particular about which pottery mug is best suited to her favorite hot drinks throughout the day. Megan lives with her husband and five boys in Virginia.

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