By: Adele Colvin
Illustrated by: Peyton Carmichael
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company
Publication Date: January 2010
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: March 19, 2010
Author Adele Colvin has a whole herd of sweet donkeys to help her retell Bible stories for children. This time an old donkey (we never learn his name) recounts his time as the faithful companion of Saul of Tarsus, later known as the Apostle Paul.
After meeting some visiting donkeys, Saul’s donkey begins his tale by telling of his master’s childhood, as the son of a tent maker. As a young man, Saul was incensed by stories of people of Jewish faith who were following Jesus. Surely Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. Saul decided to punish the followers of Jesus and soon he left home, along with the donkey, to track down the early Christians.
The Donkey of Tarsus recounts many of Saul's/Paul’s experiences, from the stoning of Stephen, a prominent follower of Jesus, to Paul’s conversion to Christianity and his struggles at building the early Church. For very young readers, the story may have to be split up between several sittings as there is a fair amount of text. However, it’s just the right amount for readers who are almost ready for chapter books. The book would also do well in a Sunday school setting where the various exploits could easily be broken up into different weekly lessons.
The colorful watercolor illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the story. The donkey will likely be the big draw for children, with his expressive eyes and obvious love of Paul (the drawing of Paul sleeping against his beloved donkey is particularly sweet).
Quill says: A charming and educational book chronicling the life of the Apostle Paul as told by a little donkey.