With Words from the King James Bible

Fiona French
Harper Collins Publishers, 2002

From the dust jacket, “With words from the Gospels of the King James Bible and luminous artwork inspired by England’s glorious stained-glass cathedral windows, this beautiful book celebrates the story of Easter.
“In twelve radiant panoramas, Kate Greenaway medalist Fiona French re-creates the complete Easter story—beginning with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem through the last supper, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and Jesus’ appearance to the disciples, and culminating with his ascension into heaven.”

This is a very pretty book. Each page is like looking at a stained-glass window from the Middle Ages. The words are, as the publisher has said, are from the King James Bible and they tell the story of Easter week, or “Passion” week. Each of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) told the same story and the pictures reflect that. In one picture there’s the man who loses his ear to Peter’s sword during the capture of Jesus, and the artist very subtly depicts that moment in her ‘window’. Another window shows Peter after he has denied Jesus three times and the rooster crowing – just as Jesus said he would – even though the main focus is that of Jesus being abused by the soldiers. If the reader is familiar with the different versions of Passion Week they will find hidden meanings in all of the pictures – just like the real windows of England. (In the Middle Ages the public was largely illiterate and the only real way of communicating the story of Jesus with them was through plays, paintings and stained-glass windows.)

Rating 4 of 5 paws because not only is it a beautiful book but the artist is faithful to the story, even of the crucifixion of Jesus.




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