Authors Eric and Meredith Schrotenboer’s catchy, rhyming verses and illustrator Tyson Ranes’s emotional artwork flesh out the apostle John’s experiences from when he first became Jesus’ disciple until he was an old man, penning the gospel story for future generations of Jesus’ followers.
As a fisherman, John understood what it meant to work hard and invest time in his livelihood in order to ensure a catch. When Jesus called John and other men to follow him to find out why he came to earth, including how to fish for people, John and the other disciples obeyed, leaving their lives as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.
As John’s story unfolds, young children will learn what it means to follow Jesus: to pray for the coming of God’s kingdom; to love, help, and give to others; to abandon worry and trust God for daily needs; to be unafraid of storms because God is in control of nature and everything else; and to know that Jesus is the living water, the good shepherd, and the bread of life.
The Youngest Disciple, recommended for children ages 3 through 10, succinctly relates key events of Jesus’ three-year ministry: the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman, the Passover meal prior to his death, the washing of the disciples’ feet, and Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. In conclusion, children learn why John wrote the book we call the Gospel of John: “I wrote my story of Jesus / so everyone would know / that Jesus is the / Son of God / who came to earth below, / so we can have a brand-new life / by trusting in His name, / and be with Him forever. / That is why Jesus came! / I followed Jesus everywhere, / when I was young like you. / If you follow in my footsteps, you’ll be like Jesus too.”
(Fresh Wind Studios)