Renowned Christian author Mitali Perkins creatively employs Old Testament imagery to relate for children the events of Holy Week and beyond—Jesus entering Jerusalem as crowds wave palm branches; Jesus breaking bread and washing his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper; Jesus’ crucifixion; the empty tomb on Easter morning; the destruction of Jerusalem; and the promise of Jesus’ second coming. Perkins imaginatively derives her character, Little Wind, from Psalm 104:4: “He makes the winds his messengers.” And the future ability of the tree-characters to clap their hands reflects on Isaiah 55:12: “The trees of the field will clap their hands.”
When Little Wind whistles through Jerusalem’s palm trees, she helps Tall Tree’s fronds to clap. Tall Tree tells Little Wind, “One day we will clap on our own.” Little Wind is curious about when that will happen. Tall Tree replies, “When Real King comes.” Next, Little Wind visits Dead Garden, blows on Bare Tree—"scarred with cuts and scrapes"—but is unable to make her clap because all her dates, seeds, and fronds have been removed. Now, Little Wind is worried, thinking, “She’ll never clap. … Not even if Real King comes.”
Years later, Little Wind returns to Jerusalem and hears the amazing news that Real King is arriving that day. But instead of witnessing a king riding a stallion, Little Wind sees Quiet Man riding a donkey. Swooping into Dead Garden, Little Wind tells Bare Tree about Quiet Man, and that he didn’t look like Real King. But Bare Tree knows better, and speaks prophetically, “This was his first visit. … He will come back.”
In a lovely turn of events after the sobering realities of Jesus’ crucifixion and the elation of Easter, Bare Tree and Little Wind spread seeds for future growth so trees throughout all creation will be watching and waiting for the return of Real King and clap in adoration and exultation when he arrives.
Illustrator Khoa Le’s distinctive artwork blends pictures of sweeping winds; jubilant or sorrowful trees; worshipful angels; the humility, sacrifice, and victory of Jesus Christ; and creation, both beautiful and groaning, as it waits in anticipation for the second coming of Jesus. Bare Tree and Little Wind is a children’s picture book worthy of being savored again and again. (WaterBrook)