A retold Bible story for children, illustrated with a variety of classic paintings, Mary Magdalene chronicles Jesus’s baptism, rise to prominence, and subsequent death, paying special attention to the women who followed and supported him.
The book opens in Nazareth, with a young Jesus being revealed as the son of God upon his baptism. He collects disciples and meets Mary Magdalene, described as a person who “showed that she grasped what [Jesus] meant more than any of the others.” Later, Jesus informs his followers that he will be killed, but only Mary believes him.
The book describes how, as Jesus is being nailed to the cross, many of his followers flee out of fear, leaving only women to bear witness to his death. The book concludes by describing Jesus’s resurrection and noting that his disciples did not believe Mary until they saw his empty tomb. The final pages commend Mary for her true friendship and loyalty, holding her up as a role model for young readers.
While an earnest effort, the book, unfortunately, lacks polish. The formatting most closely resembles a word processing document, with illustrations pasted haphazardly throughout. These illustrations include famous paintings, like Carl Bloch’s Sermon on the Mount and Annibale Carracci’s The Dead Christ Mourned, but these works aren’t credited or properly titled, and some images include watermarks.
Contemporary photos at book’s end feel jarringly out of place amidst the classic art. Additionally, although the retelling is faithful to the original biblical tale, the story would be enhanced for young readers with some simple explanations of adult concepts like “baptism” and “disciples.”
Finally, although the book is subtitled “A Story for Girls,” it’s unclear why boys wouldn’t benefit from learning about a woman standing with Jesus in his time of trial.
Ultimately, the author’s attempt to tell an inspiring story about the faithfulness of women is undermined by an unprofessional presentation that limits the book’s appeal.