by Roberta Ciucci
This comforting poem for children ages 3 and up is based on the 23rd Psalm and explores the relationship between sheep and shepherds in simple terms. It highlights the special honor granted only to sheep. This understanding creates a gentle introduction to Jesus. Beautiful watercolor illustrations by Malinda Raines accompany the text. In addition there is a list of definitions for some of the words that can be used when questions indicate a desire to learn more.
The 23rd Psalm was written by David, King of Israel. It is thought by many to be the most beautiful poem ever written. David’s relationship with God was shaped by his understanding of the care a shepherd gives his flock, and he knew this so well because he had served as shepherd to his own father’s sheep. What was well known to David, that sheep are defenseless and dependent, was universally understood at the time he wrote it but few of us today have first-hand knowledge of sheep. Because sheep have no means of defense, they are always nervous and fearful of attack by predators; the presence of a protective shepherd can meet their need and alleviate fear and worry. David lived one thousand years before Jesus yet he precisely described the role Jesus would fulfill as shepherd to mankind. Understanding this becomes a starting point on the journey toward understanding all of God’s plan for us.
“Sheep & the Shepherd” is a children’s book written and illustrated to share the nature of sheep to children to help them understand God’s plan.