Review of “The Light of the World”

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Best known for her book, The Bridge to Terabithia, two-time Newberry Medalist Katherine Paterson has written several marvelous books, so I have decided to spend the month of June reviewing some of her books. This week I am beginning with one of her more recent titles, The Light of the World, a beautiful retelling of the life of Christ for children.

“This is the story of light coming in to the world.”

While the book is half story, half pictures, it is a lovely addition to any library, especially if you have children in your home! The story is full, giving a broad scope of the life of Christ, without being overwhelming for story time.

Katherine Paterson’s gift of storytelling is abundantly clear as she succinctly whittles down the Biblical account for little people! Pair that with Francois Roca’s absolutely gorgeous illustrations, and it is a masterpiece.

“This was the work that Jesus had been born for- to make the lame walk, to make the blind see, and to preach to the poor and friendless the good news of God’s loving kingdom.”

I appreciated many things about the book, one of which was the introduction, which gave insight from both Creation and Isaiah’s lifetime on the importance of light, and how Christ is that light.

There were, however, two points that I saw which could be problematic, and which parents should be aware of.

First, the book does not quote directly from Scripture, but is rather retold and paraphrased by the author. Thus it reads as if Jesus said, but is actually Paterson’s paraphrase.

Second, in the retelling of the Last Supper, Paterson’s story refers to the bread and wine as being “like my body” and “like my blood” whereas in Mark 14, when Christ instituted the Eucharist, he said, “this is my body” and “this is my blood”.

“The light still shines through everyone, who like Jesus, lives the good news of God’s loving Kingdom.”

Overall, I found The Light of the World to be both a beautiful and wonderful book, and look forward to reading it again many times. I would give the book an “A”.

Have you read the book? If so, what are your thoughts?

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