Here is a book introducing young children both to an aspect of the Faith and to the artistic traditions of the Church. It is not an unusual idea – there are other books for children making use of the works of Old Masters. However, this one caught my eye because it uses exclusively the art of one artist, Fra Angelico, which gives the project greater cohesion than many. Also, I love Fra Angelico, so anything that introduces his art to children is worth looking at in my opinion.
Bethlehem Books, the publisher, says that this is ‘a first board book in a set on the Blessed Trinity. The aim of The Saving Name of God the Son is to help guide the child listener and adult reader into the mystery of the Son of God, Jesus Christ’
There are ten described events, including The Resurrection, below, and with the front cover this makes 11 reproductions. There are very few words, perhaps two or three short sentences per picture, but they are taken from Scripture or the Catechism and it has been put together so that it runs smoothly, simply and understandably. Given the source of the text and the quality of the reproductions, I can imagine that it is likely to give the grown-ups doing the reading a resource for some pictorial lectio. At the back are comprehensive details about each picture (name, location of original etc) and the sources for the accompanying text, plus scriptural readings and sections of the Catechism that reinforce the theological point being made.
To get more information or order The Saving Name of God the Son, go to Bethlehem Books website, here. Bethlehem Book publish this as part of their Holy Child teaching curriculum and present many ideas about how to use this book with different age groups to maximise the enjoyment and the quality of the educational experience, here.
There is an additional exercise that I would encourage. If parents encourage their older children to copy these beautiful images as best they can then it will impress the style of this wonderful artist upon their souls in some way and, who knows, it might stimulate a future Fra Angelico to realise his or her vocation!