Donkey Tale Press

Feathered Quill Book Reviews-Easter Tale

How do you get young children excited to learn about the events leading up to Easter? Author Adele Colvin has come up with a very clever way to do just that – tell the Easter miracle through the eyes of a donkey.

The Donkey’s Easter Tale begins in a cozy barn, on a very rainy day. Grandpa Donkey is cuddled up with his two grandchildren. Finally the two youngsters are staying still long enough so that grandpa can tell them a story. Grandpa decides to tell his grandchildren about the time, many years earlier, when he had the honor of being ridden by Jesus. You see, Grandpa Donkey was THE donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

The donkey stayed with Jesus and the disciples throughout Holy Week and recounts all the important events of that time to his grandchildren. Children will learn about the moneychangers in the temple, how Jesus cured the sick, and how Jesus taught through stories called parables (Donkey even tells one of those parables, being sure to explain the meaning). Soon Donkey learns of what Judas plans to do and how Peter will deny the Lord three times. Staying in the background during the trial and crucifixion, he gentle reflects on what has happened. Donkey’s tear filled eyes reflect the Lord on the cross; to perhaps avoid upsetting young readers, we are never shown a full-page picture of Jesus on the cross.

Donkey soon accompanies Mary to Jesus’ tomb where they see that his body has been moved. What could have happened? Donkey and his human companions soon realize that Jesus has risen! They rush to Galilee to meet their savior.

The Donkey’s Easter Tale handles the story of Holy Week and Easter with sensitivity while educating. Told in the first person by "Donkey" (he’s never given a name), the reader will discover what is happening along with Donkey. Much like a child, this large eared equine is at first confused by some of the situations (he heard Jesus say that Peter would deny his Lord, but why would Peter do that?). With bright illustrations that include the Donkey in every picture, children will be drawn into this important story and want to read it start to finish.

Quill says: The Donkey’s Easter Tale is a beautiful way to teach youngsters about Holy Week and the miracle of Easter.



Feathered Quill Book Reviews-Tarsus

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.

Children’s Book Council Recommended Reading List

  The Children’s Book Council works annually on reading lists to help teachers, librarians, parents and booksellers discover new, wonderful books for the children in their lives. We encourage you to make copies of these materials for your classroom or personal use.


Hot Off the Press is our unique online bibliography featuring anticipated bestsellers, either recently published or forthcoming, published by CBC member publishers.


The Donkeys Easter Tale stayed on the Children’s Book Council recommended reading list for 6 months!

The Living Church Book and Gift Issue Review of The Donkeys’ Tales

The biblical narrative from the Nativity through Palm Sunday told imaginatively from the perspective of the donkeys that carried Mary and Jesus. The author, a member of St. Luke’s Church, Birmingham, Alabama, employs her skills as both songwriter and lyricist in teaching the gospel. Verse is included in several places, and the book concludes with a hymn. Christmas 2008

Alabama Writer’s Forum Review of The Donkey’s Easter Tale

This flawlessly written book for children ages eight-up is framed by a grandfather donkey taking advantage of a rainy day to tell his two grandchildren donkeys stories about his associations with Jesus. 

The grandfather donkey tells how he was scared to be ridden, only to find that his rider was none other than the gentle Jesus. The grandfather’s parents, he said, knew Mary and Joseph. His mother, he said, carried Mary to Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. The grandfather donkey tells how he carried Jesus to the temple when he threw out the money changers, healed the sick, defended himself against tax collectors, and taught the crowds. The grandfather donkey also witnessed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the cross, and at the resurrection

The young donkeys are so excited by their grandfather’s stories that they beg to share them with other donkeys. 

The text of the stories is simple and reads as if a human grandfather were telling stories of great interest to his offsprings. The love for family is evident among the Bible characters and among the donkey families. 

Linking a donkey with children’s stories about Jesus is not a new trend. Four popular children’s books are also available: The Donkey’s Christmas Song by Nancy Tafui (Scholastic Inc., 2006); Ruben, Grandpa Jacob’s First Christmas Donkey; Ruben, My Friend Jesus Is Lost in Jerusalem; and Ruben, My Friend Jesus Is Baptized, all three self-published by E.A. LaPalme. In 2000, the television story Nestor, the Long-eared Christmas Donkey aired. 

Adele Colvin, who lives in Birmingham, has two other books related to donkeys and Jesus: The Donkeys’ Tales (Crane Hill, 1999) and The Story of Jesus as Told in the Donkeys Tales (Pelican, 2008). Both books are also illustrated by Peyton Carmichael, an award-winning artist, also of Birmingham and of Greenville. 

Carmichael’s illustrations are simple, clean representations of the Holy Land settings with attractive shadings and soothing colors. Their richness lends interest and drama to these familiar stories. The book is not only suitable for older children to read, but also suitable for younger children to hear. June 2009 

Anniston native Sherry Kughn is the author of Heart Tree Books for empty-nest moms. Her latest, God’s Bouquet for Empty Nesters, was published in May 2009 by Lambert Book House.

 The Donkey’s Easter Tale

By Adele Colvin;  Illustrated by Peyton Carmichael  


Reviewed by Sherry Kughn

Alabama Writer’s Forum 2009 Review of both The Donkeys’ Tales and The Donkey’s Easter Tale on CD

The Donkeys’ Tales—The Donkey’s Easter Tale
By Adele Colvin;  Cover illustrated by Peyton Carmichael 
Reviewed by Sherry Kughn

Several talented Birmingham residents worked together to produce an audio version of Birmingham author Adele Colvin’s two books, The Donkeys’ Tales, first published in 1998 by Crane Hill of Birmingham (and re-released by Pelican Publishing of Gretna, La., in 2008), and The Donkey’s Easter Tale (Pelican Publishing, 2009). The result is a pleasant audio experience of the reading of both books as though they were told by three generations of donkeys who took part in the life of Jesus. Suzanne Mann reads on the CD. Her expressive words are accompanied by soothing guitar music in the background, which sometimes includes flute and organ.

Especially nice are two songs written for the stories, one by Colvin, “The Donkeys’ Tales,” and a new one titled “Among the Blessed” by Three-on-a-String musician Andy Meginniss. Also featured is a harmonica solo of the hymn “Were You There?” played by Dan Marson. The blend of the narration and music, produced by WorkPlay producer Shaun Pezant, may be heard by clicking on the study-guide icon at Peyton Hamilton Carmichael, the books’ illustrator, drew a sleeping donkey for the cover of the recently released CD.

According to a Birmingham News article of Nov. 22, 2008, the first book has been a bestseller in the Birmingham area for ten years. The decision to place the books with a regional publisher should increase future sales and maybe achieve a national bestselling status in the category of juvenile fiction/Christian literature.

The creative nature of the participating individuals extends to the interesting Web site, where parents can download coloring sheets for their youngsters. Better yet, youngsters may do the task for themselves and read about this extensive project, they may see photographs of the individuals who contributed to it and read about them, and they may read from the Donkey Trivia page. Musicians may download the sheet music to the original two songs, and Bible students may download a guide for further Bible study.

According to the delightful Web site, a new book told by a donkey is forthcoming in 2010, The Donkey of Tarsus: His Tales about the Apostle Paul. Parents and children alike may get hooked on the products coming out of this fine project, which showcases the brilliance of this group of Birmingham residents. Dec 2009

Anniston native Sherry Kughn is the author of three books in the Heart Tree Books series for empty-nest moms, and she writes for the advertising department of The Anniston Star and for Longleaf Style magazine.

Tales on CD

Donkeys’ Tales/ Donkey’s Easter Tale CD


"Suzanne Mann’s warm and lyrical narration of Adele Colvin’s stories, combined with the stunning soundtrack by Andy Meginniss and Shaun Pezant, make this recording a true masterpiece."

Above comment from Bobby Horton: music historian, contributor to all of Ken Burns’ series on PBS including The Civil War, Thomas Jefferson, Baseball, Lewis and Clark, The National Parks and others:

Pictured is the cover of the just released CD. Andy Meginniss plays guitar, sings and composed the Easter song titled "Among the Blessed" for The Donkey’s Easter Tale. Shaun Pezant plays keyboard and composed some of the original music that underlies Suzanne Mann’s narration of the stories. The song running throughout The Donkeys’ Tales and much of the music underlying the narration in both books was composed by Adele Colvin.

 Publishers’ Weekly……."Colvin’s sentimental tale is just right for a Christmas read-aloud."

 On Christmas night, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger, surrounded by animals, among them, a donkey. Near the end of his life on Earth, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on the back of a donkey. When author Adele Colvin realized that the Bible makes mention of this lowly animal at both momentous occasions in the life of Christ, she began to consider the relationship between the animals and crafted these two stories.Inspired by Scripture, these tales present Jesus’ complete life story as witnessed by a very blessed family of humble donkeys. Two original songs enhance this touching and moving account of Christ’s life, narrated over a delicately orchestrated musical setting. From Christ’s birth and childhood to his ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Crucifixion, and glorious Resurrection, the life of Jesus is celebrated here by the modest animals who share the true meaning of what it is to love and serve him.

Midwest Book Review of The Donkey’s Easter Tale

An excellent contribution to Christian children’s bookshelves, May 18, 2009

By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

The Donkey’s Easter Tale is a Christian picturebook from the perspective of the humble donkey who carried Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and stayed by his side during the Last Supper, and even his crucifixion. The story continues with the donkey’s witness of the miracle of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, and concludes with the donkey’s wish for all Christian children to spread the good news of Jesus’ compassion to all who will listen. Simple color illustrations complement this profound retelling of Christianity’s most defining moments; the text is sufficiently advanced that it is best suited for young people who are just about ready to move on to chapter books – or for parents to read aloud. An excellent contribution to Christian children’s bookshelves.

Episcopal Life Holiday Gift Guide Review of The Donkeys’ Tales

The Christmas story retold and prayers for youngsters

By Sharon Sheridan and Jerry Hames

Songwriter Adele Colvin said it was while reading her Bible that she was inspired to look at the Christmas narrative in a new way -from the point of view of the humble animals who knew the blessing of serving Christ.

She called her close friend and illustrator Peyton Hamilton Carmichael and from their collaboration has come The Donkeys’ Tales (Pelican Publishing, 30 pp..$15.95). It’s a delightful picture book in which the story of Jesus’ life is passed down from grandmother donkey, who carried Mary to Bethlehem and witnessed Jesus’ birth, to grandson donkey, who is destined to carry Christ on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

The lyrics to Colvin’s hymn of the same title, printed at the end of the book, are an integral part of the story. Both Colvin, whose songs and lyrics have been used in worship services and published in songbooks, and Carmichael, an award-winning poet whose art has been exhibited throughout the southeast, live in Birmingham, Ala., and attend Episcopal churches there.

Episcopal Life Holiday Gift Guide November 2008

Episcopal Life Online Review of The Donkey’s Easter Tale

Children’s book provides a donkey’s-eye view of Easter

By Jerry Hames, April 03, 2009 [Episcopal Life]


[Episcopal Life] A storyteller/songwriter and an illustrator, both members of Episcopal churches in Birmingham, Alabama, have teamed to create The Donkey’s Easter Tale (Pelican, $15.95), a richly illustrated children’s book about the last days of Christ’s life and resurrection, as told by the donkey that carried him through the streets of Jerusalem and remained by his side until Easter.

"The Donkey’s Easter Tale is most certainly based on scriptural narrative but is not intended as fact," said songwriter Adele Bibb Colvin, whose work is featured in songbooks and worship services.

"Could the young donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday have stayed with him over the next week? If he did, this story is the remembrance, years later, of the dramatic events that took place."

The book is the second collaboration by Colvin and her illustrator friend, Payton Hamilton Carmichael, whose work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the southeast and New York. The first book, The Donkey’s Tales, is a retelling of the story of Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ birth and his early childhood as told by another donkey.

"The inspiration for that book came from my grandchildren," who asked her questions after she read them the Nativity story, Colvin said.

She said she realized that the donkey, a beast of burden in the Bible, figured prominently in two central stories, carrying the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem and carrying Christ on his triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

Colvin, who has served on the board of a state youth offender facility and tutored there as part of a literacy program, is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, where she has served on the vestry and taught Sunday school.

Carmichael, an artist of watercolors and oil paintings, specializes in portraits and highly detailed floral scenes. Her work has won awards at the Birmingham Festival of Arts and has been displayed at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Birmingham Museum of Art. She attends St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Both books are being narrated with music and placed on a single CD that will be available soon from Pelican at 800-843-1724 or

"We didn’t plan this, but right from the beginning [all] involved with the books and recordings, including the narrator and the musicians, are Episcopalians," said Colvin. "It’s a 100 percent Episcopalian project."


— Jerry Hames is a past editor of Episcopal Life.