I recently received an email about a new book available on the papacy. I've mentioned before that I've struggled a little in explaining to the children who Pope Benedict XVI is and why he is important to us so I was very interested in the book. A bit boldly, I responded and inquired about a copy of the book for an honest review and they sent one! (I could hardly believe it.)
This hardcover book is illustrated throughout with full-color photographs, most of them of the election of Pope Benedict and his papacy. It carries an Imprimatur and quotes the RSV, our preferred translation for our homeschool. At the end, there's a wonderful glossary of terms like Habemus papem and Ring of the Fisherman. There is also a list of all the popes.
The text of the book very simply explains how Jesus chose Peter as the first leader of the Church. We learn what Jesus asked Peter to do ("Take care of my sheep.") and that he promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide Peter and the Church. After Peter there were other popes.
Jesus taught His followers many things. The pope also teaches the followers of Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps each pope. In two thousand years, many popes have led the people, but God stays the same. So do His teachings.Ms. Congeni covers a lot of material for young readers: how popes take a new name, Vatican City, the Popemobile, the Swiss Guard, and what happens when a pope dies. First we mourn. Then the cardinals meet and pray and vote until the ballots are burned into a white smoke to indicate someone has been chosen. Then there is jubilation and a blessing from the new pope.
This book was informative for First Son (who read it quite easily by himself), but it's most engaging for the girls. Second Daughter in particular loves to look through the pictures. It's a wonderful addition to our family library and I recommend it to all Catholic families with little ones. I look forward to future titles from Karen Congeni.
I did not receive any renumeration for this review, but I did receive a free copy of the book We Have a Pope! by Karen Congreni, available at Amazon.com or at Catholic Word. This review reflects my honest opinion about the book.