Saint Spotting

Eerdmans. Apr. 2021. 44p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780802855213.
Gr 3-5–Raschka’s engaging and expressive watercolors take readers on an adventure examining a towering church full of the images and symbology of many saints. As a child, Raschka explains in the text, he and his mother would explore the visuals of a church and go “saint spotting.” The rest of the text focuses on the different saints who might be seen and the symbols that accompany them, which further illuminate their role in the development of the Christian faith. The book relates that the images were an entryway for those who couldn’t read to learn the stories of the Bible and the early church. The author acknowledges that the lives of some of the saints (and particularly their deaths/martyrdoms) were not always pleasant and that the imagery that might be seen in a church is better understood with additional context. Balanced between respecting the faith that keeps these stories alive and the history of the Christian church, this book is a welcome resource for readers going on a “saint spotting” adventure of their own. While there is not enough information in the text for research purposes, this title has the potential to make church visiting, particularly for those young people who do not attend a church with such imagery, a much more engaging and informative experience, with the caveat that not all saints are in all churches.
VERDICT Useful for those wanting to understand church imagery or as an introduction to some of the stories of the early history of Christianity. For churches with stained glass windows or other art with this type of imagery, this would make an ideal book to have in the pews or church library for young people who might find saint spotting an interesting entry point to their visit.

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