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 www.pelicanpub.com.
"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.