Alison McDonald, with the help of her children, reviews ‘The Gospel for Children’ by John J. Piantedosi.

[New City Magazine – 2011]

Throughout the last few weeks, my children and I have been dipping into this beautiful adaptation of the gospel. Piantedosi tells the stories simply and evocatively, making the gospel accessible to small children and also an entertaining read.

The illustrations of Ben Cioffi recreate the story of Jesus’ birth and life very vividly. In fact his pictures completely gripped the attention of my children, Erin (7) and Davy (6): ‘I like baby Jesus smiling’, and ‘I like the bit when he’s pointing at that man’. As we read the book, they kept asking questions about what they saw in the pictures and what it all meant, which led us quickly from one story to another.

The poetic style of the story telling and the use of rhyme is a wonderful tool for capturing the hearts of children, and the emphasis in the stories about the love of God, ‘My love will set you free’, is so important when helping children to grow in their faith. The writer also opens the book with a personal letter for the children, explaining to them what the word ‘gospel’ means.

‘The Gospel for Children’ is a book which is rich with meaning and clearly reflects the faith of Piantedosi and his relationship with God.

Erin said, ‘It’s a very good story because in the book it shows you what real love is and how you’re supposed to love one another.’ The following day after school, she shared an experience provoked by what we had read. One of her friends did not have her 20p for fruit at break time and so Erin gave Sophie hers. Erin also added that the disciples should ‘act like children because Jesus really loves children’.

Erin, Davy and I would recommend this book to children and to their parents. It is fun and uplifting and has reminded us all of what is important in life. ‘If you want to be great, serve the little ones’, and ‘My friends, never fight!’

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