Jesus and the Very Big Surprise (Tales That Tell The Truth #9)

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise-2
Jesus and the Very Big Surprise: A True Story about Jesus, His Return, and How to Be Ready by Randall Goodgame, Catalina Echeverri
Also by this author: Jesus and the Lions' Den: A True Story about How Daniel Points Us to Jesus, Goodbye to Goodbyes: A True Story About Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb, The Friend Who Forgives: A True Story About How Peter Failed and Jesus Forgave, God's Very Good Idea: A True Story of God's Delightfully Different Family, The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross, The Storm That Stopped, The One O'Clock Miracle, The Christmas Promise, The Prisoners, the Earthquake, and the Midnight Song, The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross Board Book
Series: Tales That Tell The Truth #9
Published by Good Book Company on February 1, 2020
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
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This beautifully illustrated hardback book by singer and TV presenter Randall Goodgame is based on the parable in Luke 12 v 35-38.
It teaches children that Jesus will return and when he does there will be an amazing party where ... SURPRISE! ... he will serve his faithful servants! Jesus didn't tell us when that party will be, but we can make sure that we're ready for it by loving him and loving his people while we wait.

Children’s books are everywhere.

Children’s retellings of Bible stories are everywhere.

And the quality…well…in my experience, the quality ranges.

How are we supposed to sort through it all?

Early on, with my kids, I developed some guidelines for choosing a children’s Bible storybook.

  1. Is the story biblically accurate?
  2. Is the story relationally applicable?
  3. Does the story’s language/vocabulary fit the intended audience?
  4. Are the illustrations diverse?

And whenever somebody asks me for a practical example of those four guidelines, I inevitably point them toward Tales that Tell the Truth. There are currently ten books in the series (the latest upcoming June 2020) along with a variety of supplemental materials like coloring books that accompany each volume. The series has a variety of authors with illustrator Catalina Echeverri providing a cohesive stylistic design.

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise | Tales That Tell The Truth

This brilliantly colorful and dramatic picture book emphasizes the joy of following Jesus. At the beginning, the author writes about Jesus’s identity and ministry, and then the story shifts. The middle of this book retells a lesser-known parable from Luke 12:35-38, and the vibrant illustrations emphasize the surprising plot twist. In this story, servants try to stay awake to greet their master when he returns home, but when he arrives, he dresses himself for service. He has them sit down at the table, and he comes to serve them. The book asks, “What kind of master would love like that? What kind of God would choose to be a servant?” The rest of the book explains that Jesus is that master, and summarizes his ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension.

The last two pages talk about Jesus’s return, teaching children that we have “plenty to do while we wait,” just like the servants in the story. Jesus and the Very Big Surprise provides specific ideas of how we can love and serve others like Jesus, and concludes on a joyful note about awaiting his return. Parents who grew up in church contexts that used fear tactics to inspire conversions may feel leery of a book about Christ’s return, but in this case, they don’t need to. Nothing about this book is manipulative, and nothing about it inspires fear or anxiety. This book bursts with love and joy, and encourages its readers to delight in Jesus, eagerly await his return, and love their neighbors in the meantime.

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise is biblical, faithful, and full of joy and encouragement. Also, even though the parable is adapted into a Western context with a manor home and carriage, the illustrator accurately depicts Jesus’s ethnicity throughout the book, which is much-needed change from the norm. This is an excellent resource to share with kids, and the vivid text will make it fun to read out loud. This book conveys strong and sincere excitement, and it is a wonderful resource to introduce children to Jesus’s sacrificial love and the hope and joy that we have in him.