Portrait of the Son: A Tale of Love

Gingerbread House. Nov. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780940112988.
Gr 3-5–A charming secular allegory that features a father and son with a deep bond, cultivated through art and oral storytelling. The father and son collect art for their mansion and develop stories around the art, which they share openly with the public. When the son dies after enlisting for war, his comrades who fought with him pay tribute to the father, and one soldier paints a portrait of the son. When the father auctions the entire, valuable art collection, only one bidder places value on the father’s most prized piece—that portrait. While this book can be appreciated solely as a heartwarming parent-child story, it is a stand-in for the Christian Holy Trinity and can be shared for its Biblical connotations. The jacket copy includes additional explanations of each part of the story that aligns to Biblical tradition, providing depth and richness. Children will also enjoy the illustrations that contrast light and dark to show the tones of the allegory.
VERDICT For use in or out of a religious environment, this story may spark interesting conversations, especially with the artwork’s general nods to sculpture, painting, and other media, such as mobiles.

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