A Book Review
The Apostles’ Creed for All God’s Children with text by Ben Myers and clean, bright illustrations by Natasha Kennedy marks Lexham’s first foray into children’s books. This title is the first release in their FatCat series. “Cat” stands for “catechism.” And it’s “Fat” because the catechism is weighted with significant, heavy importance.
Anyone reading this book with children, or a child reading it on their own, encounters the Apostles’ Creed line by line with accompanying artwork and explanatory text. The text by Ben Meyers asks questions, answers questions, and explains theology in a simple way. For example, the text accompanying the portion of the Apostles’ Creed that reads “and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,” the facing text by Myers reads:
Jesus has always been with God.
He is God’s great Son forever.
He shares God’s life in a special way.
But he wanted to share it with me too.
God’s life is big enough to share!
So Jesus came from God.
He came to me.
Now Jesus has lots of brothers and sisters!
Whenever I am with his brothers and sisters,
I am with Jesus.
Whenever I am with Jesus, I am with God.
And God loves me as much as God loves Jesus.
That’s how good God is!
That’s what I believe.
Fittingly, since a creed is a statement of belief, each accompanying reading for each line of the creed ends with the words “That’s what I believe.”
A particularly fun feature is the ever-present and often hidden FatCat on each page may be a special treat for youngsters. My youngest son got a kick out of this “Where’s Waldo” style element. The art is a key component of a children’s storybook, and the art looks so good. And I appreciate that Jesus isn’t depicted as white. He probably wasn’t as black as depicted (especially as Jesus appears on the cover), but we all know He wasn’t white like too many artists make Him out to be.
Why learn or dwell on the Apostles’ Creed? Martin Luther gave testimony to its value in a quotation that’s cited towards the end of this book. Luther said, “Although I’m indeed an old doctor, I never move on from the childish doctrine of the Ten Commandments and the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. I still daily learn and pray them with my little Hans and my little Lena. The Apostles’ Creed is a compact summary of key Christian beliefs.
Readers unfamiliar with the Apostles’ Creed might be disconcerted when they read “He [Jesus] descended into hell” and about “the holy catholic church.” These are lightly addressed in the “To Parents” section that appears at the end of the book. My recommendation would have been to include his material in the introduction and offer a little more detail. And, because of my own ecclesiology, I would have preferred a slight alteration to a statement at the end of the book that claims “Families are little churches.” “Families are like little churches” would resonate better in my book. But the author’s points on that page about family worship and catechism are excellent.
Myers and Kennedy put an amazing level of care into this book. There are clever details like FatCat measuring the gate with a measuring tape in eternity and the Hebrew word for “Amen” framing the scene on the page for the creed’s concluding “Amen.” And the book is even typeset in a custom FatCat font designed by the illustrator. I look forward to reading more FatCat books with my kids!
Photos by Brent Niedergall.
Special thanks to Lexham Press for a free review copy of this book. This did not affect my thoughts in any way, so far as I’m aware.