Sunday, May 24, 2015

Book Review - The Olive Tree: An artistic adaptation

THE OLIVE TREE - An artistic adaptation

About the Book:
Author: Christine Layton Graham
Illustrator: Carol Layton Ogden
Calligraphy: Joan Layton Merrell
Released: 2015
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Genre: Spiritual/Inspirational

From the parable of the olive tree from Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon.

Book Sources:

My Rating: 4.0 stars

Book Description:
 Nurture your connection with Heaven as you examine the olive tree parable more closely. This unique book will enhance your spiritual understanding with a one-of-a-kind experience that takes you beyond the story.

Through artwork, adapted text, and hand-worked calligraphy, you'll see each symbol as you never have before and feel the Savior's love each time He case for His trees.

The branches, the fruit, the servants, the grafting - each stands in place of something with larger meaning. The story of the Olive Tree isn't just a parable. It's the story of humanity.

My thoughts:

The artwork and the calligraphy in this book is so beautiful. The whole look and feel to this book is so pure and so enthralling that it really is a master piece of art. I loved that there were different colors used to captivate the audience. There are pictures on every page.

This book was created with the whole family in mind to understand this parable in a more clear perspective. Scripture language and parables don't come easy to my understanding. I have to break apart words and fragments often to understand concepts in the scriptures. I was so excited for this book to help me understand the parable in a very simple way, and it didn't as much as I expected. 

While it didn't explain it in a children's language like I expected, it is still the perfect book for family, perhaps to use in family home evening or family scripture study. The book brought the Spirit into my heart as I found myself searching out the parable more, pondering it in my mind, and praying about it's teachings. Isn't that what scripture stories are supposed to do for us anyways? So I absolutely loved it for that purpose. Most of the pages are full of exact scripture, so the parable is not altered or taken out of context, which I loved. 

About the creators behind the book:

Christine Layton Graham // A writer, an editor, and a college English instructor living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her books include When Pioneer Wagons Rumbled West, Three Little Robbers, and Peter Peter Picks a Pumpkin House. She also has had literary pieces published in the New Era and the Friend.

Carol Layton Ogden // An artist living in Springville, Utah. She studied design at BYU and in recent years has studied under a variety of artists, including Ann Kullberg and J. Kirk Richards. 

Joan Layton Merrell // A professional calligrapher and fiber artist living in Jefferson City, Missouri. She teaches on the national level, and her calligraphic art has been published in Letter Arts Review and The Calligrapher's Engagement Calendar.


If you decide to check out this book and obtain a copy for your family, it would make an incredible scripture study discussion if you use it with the Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (my favorite book EVER for understanding scriptures).
The pictures in the book added with the questions the manual offers would be a great way to help children really understand the concepts and principles this wonderful parable teaches us.

The Parable of the Olive Tree is an allegory. "An allegory uses symbolic characters, objects, and actions to teach truths. As students study this allegory, they can learn important lessons about Jesus Christ's willingness to help those who have turned away from Him." (Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual [2012], 157)

Here are some of the questions from 
the manual to go perfectly with this book:

Have you ever wondered about the Lord's willingness to forgive you of your sins?
What began to happen to the tame olive tree?
What does the decay of the tree symbolize?
What is apostasy?
What evidence can you find of the master's concern for the roots of the tame olive tree?
What phrases show the effort of the master of the vineyard to preserve the tame (or natural) olive tree and its branches?
What does this illustrate about the Lord's feelings toward His covenant people?
What have you learned about Jesus Christ, the master of the vineyard?
How does this allegory relate the Lord's willingness to forgive of us our sins?
How does the master's care for his vineyard represent the Lord's love for us?
What are some examples, from the scriptures of from the life, that illustrate that the Lord continues to love and care for people even after they have turned away from Him?
Do you think the master will give up on his vineyard? Why or why not?
What did the master hope would happen to the roots?
Who might be represented by the multiple servants?
What is significant about the words we, our, and us?
When have you felt that the Lord has labored with you as you have participated in His work?
What are some opportunities you have to serve the Lord and help others bring forth "good fruit"?
What did the master of the vineyard promise to those who labored with him?
Why do you think it is significant that the servants labored "with their mights" and "with all diligence"?

Discuss what each symbol represents:
Tame olive tree
The vineyard
Lord and master of the vineyard
Pruning, digging, and nourishing
Servant of the master of the vineyard
Wild olive tree
Grafting and planting branches
Burning branches

I received a free copy of this book for review but all opinions and rating are my own.

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