Park End Books has once again published a beautiful board book that introduces young Orthodox Christians to new “friends”: the saints of the Church. These new friends are no ordinary friends: because they are saints, they point us to Christ, and demonstrate the beautiful virtues that produce fruit in the life of each person who is truly following God. God’s Saintly Friends V. 2 is the second in this series of board books written by Kathryn Reetzke and illustrated by Abigail Holt.
In this book, readers will meet eight sets of saintly friends, one for each spread of the book. This edition includes saints who were related to each other: Sts. Ruth and Naomi; St. Emelia and her children; Sts. Cosmos and Damien; Sts. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus; the Theotokos and St. Elizabeth; Sts. Cyril and Methodius; Sts. Benedict and Scholastica; and St. John the Forerunner. Kathryn Reetzke has succinctly written a one-sentence statement about each set of saints. This statement mentions the virtuous way in which a saintly friend points those around them to Christ. Each spread of the book also offers a few sentences introducing these saints who modeled that statement with their life. The spread also includes a drawing of the saints as they display the virtue and interact with these other members of their family.
Abigail Holt’s simple but beautiful illustrations pair beautifully with Reetzke’s words. The saintly friends are sketched in a straightforward style and colorized with a select palette. The illustrations are simple, but will be engaging for children of all ages.
Readers will learn much from the words of the book, and desire to interact with their family members in a similar manner. Children will be especially drawn to the friendly faces and kindness of the saints on every page. The book may be one of those books that is just read over and over again. It could also be used for educational purposes: whether for a family study, or for a Church school class. With a little research and a few other resources, each spread could easily be crafted into a lesson about the saintly friends on that page (and the way in which they interacted with their family members), while also taking a closer look at the virtue that they modeled. Regardless of how the book is used, all who read it will be challenged to become a saintly friend and to seek saintly friends.
This book will be an asset to any family or Church school library. It would also make a beautiful gift, whether for a new baby, a baptism, a young child’s name day, or their birthday. (This reader liked it so much that she gave a copy to the newest little member of her parish on the day of her baptism!)
Find you own copy of this book here: https://parkendbooks.com/shop/gods-saintly-friends-volume-2/
The Antiochian Department of Christian Education thanks Park End Books for providing a copy of this book for review.