The One O’Clock Miracle (Tales that Tell the Truth #2)

The One o'clock Miracle Tales that Tell the Truth
The One O'Clock Miracle by Alison Mitchell, Catalina Echeverri
Also by this author: Jesus and the Lions' Den: A True Story about How Daniel Points Us to Jesus, The Storm That Stopped, The Christmas Promise, Jesus and the Very Big Surprise: A True Story about Jesus, His Return, and How to Be Ready, 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 Prisoners, the Earthquake, and the Midnight Song
Series: Tales That Tell The Truth #2
Published by The Good Book Company on January 1, 2015
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
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five-stars

Second in the new Tales that Tell the Truth series comes The One O'clock Miracle. Based on the healing of the official's son in John chapter 4, this wonderful storybook will teach children about the instant power of the words of Jesus, and that they should trust Jesus because he is God's Son. Stunningly illustrated by Catalina Echeverri, author and illustrator of several bestselling children's books, including Monty's Christmas, as well as the first two storybooks from The Good Book for Children, Alby's Amazing Book and The Christmas Promise. Written by Alison Mitchell, author of The Christmas Promise and several of our children's tracts. This book is perfect for children aged 3-6 years old and makes a beautiful gift.

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.

The One O’Clock Miracle is the second book in the series and it’s a bold move. One criticism that I often have of children’s Bible stories like this is that they tell The. Same. Stories. Every. Time. And Scripture is much more than the same ten stories or whatever. But with The One O’Clock Miracle, I wasn’t even sure I knew which story this was. It took some thought. And that’s what makes it brilliant.

This is the story of the king’s official whose son is healed by Jesus (see the end of John 4 if that helps you). The man lives in Capernaum, hears that Jesus is in Cana, and immediately sets off on a rather long journey toward Jesus. Now, it’s only twenty miles, but twenty miles on foot and through hilly terrain. Alison Mitchell’s emphasis on the journey builds tension and keeps the pages turning: “He walked and walked—and sometimes ran—hurrying to see Jesus.

One panel really puts the journey into perspective by turning the reader’s view ninety degrees to double the height of the hill and show off the grueling nature of the journey. It’s a delightful visual trick that is sure to keep your little readers entertained.

We also need to talk about the accuracy of The One O’Clock Miracle. Here is the map from Capernaum to Cana in the book alongside an image from Google Maps.

The One O'Clock Miracle Map

Capernaum to Cana

This attention to detail, right down to the details of the location of Cana, proves just how much thought and effort was put into this book and the series as a whole.

The whole buildup to Jesus is about how much time and energy this man has invested to meet Jesus to get Jesus to return with him and—if you don’t know the story, spoilers, but it’s been 2,000 years now!—the scene where Jesus sends him away in absolutely stunning. Whaaat?! Go home…without Jesus? After all that walking—and even running—to get Jesus to come?! But Jesus hadn’t finished. ‘Go,’ Jesus said. And then he added: ‘Your son will live.’”

The journey back is just as important where, without evidence or proof, the man has faith in Jesus and trusts in his power and words. He makes the journey again, but this time with the words of Jesus in his mind. Your. Son. Will. Live.

He reaches home—or rather, he discovers servants running out to meet him. His son is well. The fever broke at one o’clock, the same hour he had met Jesus. Jesus didn’t need to go and see the boy. He didn’t need to walk and walk. He didn’t have to run. Jesus simply spoke.

The first couple of times I read through this, I had to choke back tears. It’s a book meant for children, but I found myself changed by it as well. (Meanwhile, my two-year-old thinks Dad is weird and awkwardly tries to hug me.) The One O’Clock Miracle is a masterpiece. It’s getting a treasured spot on the bookshelf.

five-stars

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