God’s Great Plan Written by Melissa Cutrera and Illustrated by Matthew Sample II
This new children’s picture book, God’s Great Plan by Melissa Cutrera and Matthew Sample, II is a wonderful retelling of the story of redemption in the Bible starting from the creation and moving to redemption. The illustrations by Matthew Sample II are beautifully rendered and capture the emotional weight of the story from the glory of creation, to the darkness of the Fall, to the majesty of redemption. Melissa artfully tells the biblical narrative through two line rhymes that coincide with the stunning illustrations. I read this book to my daughter at least two times and she really enjoyed the interaction between the story and the illustrations, how they seamlessly fit together. Overall, this book was a real gem to read and to discuss with my family because it pushed us to talk about the story and its truth.
The Real Author of the Story
I know this might seem kind of weird to talk about in a children’s book but this rendering of the biblical story was amazingly God-centered. It was refreshing to see a retelling of the Bible that doesn’t focus on heroes and moral lessons but the real hero of the story, God. At one point in the story, Melissa writes, “He made for the man a helper and wife/And gave them a garden with His tree of life.” The way that God arranged the furniture of creation is evident here and that God is behind every aspect of the human being, male and female. In the illustration, Matthew brings out the wonder that both Adam and Eve felt as they beheld His tree of life. Later on in the story we find the glory of redemption as Melissa writes, “Jesus is God, so Death couldn’t win. Instead He beat death and overcame sin.” Death could not hold the Savior in the end. This theme of Christus Victor is central to the way Christ’s death defeats death, darkness, and overcomes sin. Once again, we see that Jesus as God’s Son is central to every line of this story as He should be.
The only minor points of critique I have with this wonderful children’s retelling of the story of redemption are that there is very little of the Old Testament captured in the book. We get quite a bit from Adam and Eve but not much of the other narratives in the story. A little more of this would have helped. Secondly, we see a scarce bit from the life of Jesus in his public ministry that relates his humanity to the people. We see his healing pictured but little of his ministry to the disciples or interactions with the religious leaders. Christ’s humanity is every bit of important to his redemption as is his deity. Yet, overall, I think with the limited space the author and illustrator did a very good job at
Check this book out, read it to your children, and be amazed at how God’s plan of redemption came to fruition in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This book will encourage your faith and strengthen your commitment to live for him.
Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and Shepherd Press for the copy of this book in exchange for review.