The Garden, The Curtain and the Cross: Carl Laferton + Catalina Echeverri

The True Story of Why Jesus Died and Rose Again

If you love Biblical Theology, and if you love really good kids books, and especially if you teach kids you will enjoy this book. At Easter I read The Garden, The Curtain and The Cross to my kids, I read it to my scripture class and I read it to the kids in crèche at church. The illustrations are beautiful and most importantly, it teaches the whole story of the Bible and shows God’s amazing plan of salvation through Jesus.

We start with the Garden. The delightful animals and colourful plants fill a glorious garden. And there are Adam and Eve. And they don’t have blonde or red hair! They look like pretty normal cartoon people. Creation and the Fall are simply explained and kids will see what sin is and how God’s relationship with people became broken. When Adam and Eve leave the Garden, they are drawn in browns and sepias in contrast to the beautiful colours of life in the garden. The warrior angels that guard the way into the garden are the first Keep Out sign, a motif that will be repeated later on with the curtain. And a refrain that will be repeated also appears for the first time, “It is wonderful to live with him, but because of your sin, you can’t come in.”

The temple and the curtain in the temple are the next focus. It’s sometimes hard to explain the significance of Old Testament practices and ways of relating to God to little kids. But here Laferton makes the link between the curtain and the Keep Out sign at the Garden. And for some readers who can remember the significance placed on the temple curtain at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, there is a hint of where the story is going.

“It is wonderful to live with him, but because of your sin, you can’t come in.”

There are hundreds of years of keeping out. Hope arrives with a tiny baby, and we even see Him growing up and visiting the temple, knowing that things are bad and sad, but promising a way back to God. Echeverri’s clever use of a contrasting lack of colours when the big bad and sad things happen is again employed for the crucifixion. Bright glowing colours are back again when the resurrected Jesus welcomes people into heaven. And we all have really glowing white hair and crowns. Which is kind of cool.

I love this book. I love how the truth of the Bible is clearly conveyed, with a clear explanation of what the problem was and how God dealt with it. The language and the rhythm are kid friendly. Even big kids will enjoy listening to and watching the story unfold. These are familiar events for some, but this might be a new way of seeing the story. Colourful illustration, repetition and contrast are effectively used to show the orientation, the complication, the climax and the resolution. People lived with God, people sinned, Jesus died and the curtain tore, and now they can come back in to God’s presence. “God says it is wonderful to live with him. Because of your sin, you can’t come in. BUT I died on the cross to take your sin . . . So all of my friends CAN now come in!” If you have kids, teach kids or know kids, I heartily recommend this book.

Writer | Rachael Collins Rachael is a Jane Austen fan who often finds it amusing that she is married to Mr Collins who is indeed a minister. Rachael enjoys gardening, drinking tea and op shopping. In between planting a new church and making chocolate fudge, she really hopes to read a lot of good books this year.