Ever since the Middle Ages, countless Christians have prayed the rosary as a way to focus on the story of salvation. This centuries-old text that highlights the joy, sorrow, and glory of the story of Jesus is here given new life through the work of artist Mary Billingsley.
In Mary's paintings, religious symbols and everyday objects mingle to create scenes from the life of Christ, scenes that offer the viewer a sense of the divine present in earthly form.
Readers of all ages will return to this book again and again, each time discovering within its pages fresh layers of beauty and meaning.
"Artist and children's book newcomer Billingsley provides an introduction to the rosary in an accessible volume. Outlining the basic procedure for praying the rosary, an opening illustration depicts a set of beads labeled to indicate which prayer each represents; the full text of each prayer appears on the facing page. Billingsley offers brief, plainspoken meditations for each of the 20 mysteries (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and the recently added Luminous); her Scripture-inspired words appear between the names of the prayers, forming a sort of vertical, visual chain of text on each page. Billingsley's folk art–style illustrations are two-dimensional renderings of multimedia, still-life structures she has created from found objects (nutcrackers, wooden artists' figures, and rag dolls make appearances). The artwork alternately recalls altars, shrines, or marionette stages, and focuses on such events as the Nativity, the Marriage at Cana, and the Crucifixion. Billingsley's text and art create a surprising and enlightening modern juxtaposition to this very traditional practice."
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"Eerdmans Books for Young Readers brings the rosary to life through lovely illustrations and its sequential prayers following Jesus' life for children, and for adults for that matter, in The Life of Jesus: An Illustrated Rosary."
School Library Journal
"Billingsley has divided this book according to the four 'Mysteries' that are emblematic of Christ's life — 'Joyful,' 'Luminous,' 'Sorrowful,' and 'Glorious,' and then into subsections about each of its five parts. The book is remarkable in the accessibility it offers to readers of all ages. The introductory page provides visual instruction — a painting of a rosary with labels and arrows indicating which beads are meant for each prayer — followed by the prayers themselves. Each Mystery is presented on a full page with a short narrative centered on white space, followed below by the name of the next recited prayer in italics. This flows to the next narrative piece and the prayer that follows it. The language is especially chosen to clarify biblical verbiage often misconstrued by children. Each left-hand facing page shows a full-color illustration of the Mystery. Billingsley's unusual technique is what stands out; she has created 'shrines' of everyday objects, flowers, puppets, children's toys arranged in a vignette, and then reproduced them in gouache. The overall effect is child-friendly but also intensely emotionally evocative. Other rosary guides for children are useful and come in more 'pew friendly' formats; this book adds elements that enhance the meditative and contemplative demands of the rosary devotion."