Esther and the Very Brave Plan – Tim Thornborough and Jennifer Davison

God's Very Colourful Creation by Tim Thornborough, Jennifer Davison
Also by this author: Moses and the Very Big Rescue, Deborah and the Very Big Battle, Moses and the Very Big Rescue, Deborah and the Very Big Battle, God's Very Colourful Creation, Esther and the Very Brave Plan, God's Very Colourful Creation
Series: Very Best Bible Stories
Published by The Good Book Company on August 1, 2021
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
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four-half-stars

In this faithful and fun account of Genesis 1, children 2-4 years old will discover how God made his very good and wonderful creation. Children will learn that God used every shade of the rainbow, and so many more!
It teaches children about colors and has bright, fun illustrations by Jennifer Davison.

The Good Book Company is my go-to publisher for quality children’s books. Everything they publish is well thought out, age-appropriate, colorful, diverse, and just all-around quality. Building on this incredible foundation, they’ve just released two more books in the Very Best Bible Stories series.

This series is exactly what it bills itself as: a simple retelling of a biblical story. Every story begins with “a true story from the Bible,” reiterating that while a lot of children’s books are fictional, these are real history. That’s an important distinction to make, especially for children. The first page always includes a summary and after not being sure whether or not I liked that for the first couple of entries, I’ve landed on enjoying it. It gives young readers an idea of where the story is going, tells them what to look for, and sometimes gives them hints for application.

Esther and the Very Brave Plan is the story of Esther and her decision to save her people. Immediately, some challenges stand out. First, this is a bloody tale. Haman plots genocide and is later executed. Esther enters the king’s presence even though doing so without permission could lead to her death. Mordecai prevents the king’s assassination. Second, there’s the whole thing about how Esther comes to be queen. It’s not exactly kid-friendly.

Tim Thornborough navigates these tricky waters quite cleverly, using Xerxes’ proud plan to get a new choose to contrast with Esther’s plan to save her people. Next up is the plan that Mordecai overhears—a plan to get rid of the king. The theme of plans begins to emerge even as the reader gets hints about God’s plan working underneath all of it. Then, there’s Haman’s plan. A very bad plan to get rid of all of God’s people. I appreciate the terminology of “get rid.” It captures the point without being needlessly violent. Young ones will come away with more understanding and empathy of the scenario than if presented with genocide. Being told to go away or being excluded is something they might understand. It does use the term “kill” later, but all other overtures of violence are pushed into the background.

Then, there is Esther’s brave plan: a plan to talk to the king to save the people. The final panel talks about how God’s plans always come true—even when we can’t see it or understand how and even when things seem like they’re going wrong. It’s a beautiful reminder that God’s plans are always working and he calls us to be a part of them.

four-half-stars