Twas the Morning of Easter – Glenys Nellist and Elena Selivanova

'Twas the Morning of Easter by Glenys Nellist, Elena Selivanova
Published by Zonderkidz on February 2, 2021
Genres: Children's, Easter
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four-stars

Celebrate the story of Jesus’ resurrection in a fresh way as beloved, bestselling author Glenys Nellistshares the Bible stories of the season in a familiar rhythm and rhyme that children will love, following the classic style of the iconic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  
Join Glenys, beloved author of the bestselling 'Twas the Evening of Christmas, and ‘Twas the Season of Advent, as she reveals the joy and beauty of the resurrection in a unique, inspiring way.. This gorgeous picture book tells the true, biblical story of Easter through read-aloud rhymes and engaging illustrations by Elena Selivanova. With an eye-catching cover, this book is perfect for any Easter basket and sure to be a treasured Easter tradition for years to come. 
'Twas the morning of Easter, before the sun rose,  
Two guards on a hillside were trying to doze.  
You see Jesus had died, only three days before,  
A huge stone had been placed, to sealthe cave door.  
'Twas the Morning of Easter
Is written by Glenys Nellist, author of the bestselling‘Twas series, The Wonder That Is You, and the Snuggle Time and Love Letters from God series 
Is told in the style of Clement C. Moore's iconic poem––'Twas the Night before Christmas 
Features a familiar rhythm and rhyme that children ages 4-8 will love 
Retells the story of the resurrection of Jesus in a fresh way 
Gives adults the perfect way to share the powerful story of Easter with little ones   
Download your free companion Activity and Resource Pack to accompany this book, which includes an Easter pageant and an intergenerational StoryWalk event, at GlenysNellist.com 
Look for additional inspirational children’s picture books from Glenys: 
Baptized in the Water 
‘Twas the Season of Advent 
'Twas the Evening of Christmas 
Snuggle Time series 
Love Letters from God series 

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is a Christmas classic. Originally written in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore, the poem became foundational to the Santa Claus mythology that would, over the course of a century, sweep through America and then the world. But what about the true mythology (as C.S. Lewis would call it)? Using the iconic poem as her template, Glenys Nellist partnered with Zondervan in 2017 on ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas—a poem about the birth of Jesus. Now, five years later, she’s done it again with ‘Twas the Morning of Easter, a look at the Resurrection through the eyes of Mary Magdalene.

One of the things that I look for in any biblical retelling—for children or adults—is how accurate the story is to what is explicitly said in Scripture and what liberties it takes to create the story based on what is not said in Scripture. For example, the story focuses on Mary Magdalene, not mentioning any of the other women who went with her to the tomb. Simplifying the story in the that way doesn’t give us the fullest picture of what actually happened, but even the Gospels simplify the story like this in various ways. It truncates some of the events and works it around the limitations of the rhyme scheme.

The only thing I would say is not accurate is that it depicts the guards as asleep. The sun through the trees was just starting to peep / At the guards on the hill who were now fast asleep. The Resurrection narrative does not present the guards as asleep and, in fact, the Jewish leaders bribe the guards to say that the body was stolen while they were asleep—hinting at the reality that they were not. That’s a small discrepancy overall, but an interesting one to have included.

The rhyme scheme is exactly what you would expect, faithfully mimicking Moore’s classic cadence. That cadence lends ‘Twas the Morning of Easter a sense of nostalgia as you hear the old, old story being told in an new, yet familiar way. Nellist handles the task of translating the story into the mold of the poetic structure well. Nowhere does she break the poem’s form, nor does it seem like she’s using as much of the original poem as possible. It’s like the ABCs and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star being different songs with the same tune. It’ll blow your kids’ minds when they make the connection.

Elena Selivanova’s illustrations are passible, if a little white and not as Middle Eastern as one might expect. The illustrations are done in lifelike, not cartoonish fashion, and it gives the sense of an epic and artistic work meant for people of all ages and not just young children.

Overall, whether you’re seeking to counter the secular cultural mythologies or simply introduce your children to the true myths of Scripture, ‘Twas the Morning of Easter is a fun, well-written story that plays off a familiar classic.

four-stars