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The Man in the Tree and the Brand New Start

A True Story about Zacchaeus and the Difference Knowing Jesus Makes

from 25 reviews

Teach children that genuine repentance and faith in Jesus leads to a transformed life.

Part of the Tales That Tell the Truth series.

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Zacchaeus was very short, very rich and not very happy, but his encounter with Jesus changed everything. 

In response to the grace Jesus showed him, Zacchaeus was transformed from the inside out. He repented, treasured Jesus above everything else, and showed kindness and generosity to others like never before.

Use this story to teach children that only following Jesus will make them truly happy and fulfilled, and that genuine repentance and faith is demonstrated by loving others. 

Written by Carl Laferton, author of The Garden, The Curtain and The Cross, God’s Big Promises Bible Storybook and The God Contest.

Product details


Age range: 3+
Contributors Carl Laferton, Catalina Echeverri
ISBN 9781784989644
Format Hardback
First published June 2024
Dimensions 220mm x 260mm x 10mm
Weight 0.44 kg
Language English
Pages 32
Publisher The Good Book Company

Ed Drew

Ministry Director, Faith in Kids; Author, Raising Confident Kids

I love this book, and I love the story of Zacchaeus. We need to give every child this story to show them that Jesus came for every child. As you read this with your kids, they’ll see and feel what a joy it is to belong to Jesus.

Kristyn Getty

Getty Music

I am grateful for books that help bring the true story of the Bible into the everyday spaces of a child’s life. This does that so wonderfully well!

Connie Dever

The story of Zacchaeus is a wonderful story of the changed heart and life that believing the gospel requires and that trusting in Jesus brings. Carl Laferton has done a wonderful job of communicating these truths to children and parents. Make sure to add this book to your collection of Tales That Tell the Truth!

Customer reviews

6 Jul 2024

“Depicts the transforming power of the gospel!”

Tales that Tell the Truth has been a longtime favorite series for us and we’re glad to see that they’re still adding to it since it’s been a while!

This books goes through the story of Zacchaeus from the gospel of Luke. It describes how his life changed after meeting Jesus because “Jesus had shown him a love he didn’t expect. Jesus had shown him a kindness he didn’t deserve.” All the things Zacchaeus previously held dear mattered little to him because now just wanted to love Jesus. The transforming power of the gospel shines forth in this book and we’re glad to have it on our shelf. I really appreciate how after telling the story of Zacchaeus, the author details how we can all be like him and that the love of Jesus transforms us as well.

The illustrations are a little softer and more sketch-like from the others in the series. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just different. My kids picked up on small things like that and preferred the illustrations in the other books of the series. They also noticed that Jesus looks different throughout the series. Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but just something they picked up on.

The only thing I would’ve changed about the book is wording on the layout detailing the reason Jesus died on the cross. The last paragraph states “He was going to do all that so that he could put wrong things right and give people like Zacchaeus a new start that would last forever.” I would’ve loved to see more about the reconciling of God and man through the blood of Jesus and the forgiveness of sin by His death on the cross.

All in all, great book!

2 Jul 2024

“Add this one to your home library!”

This book is the latest installment in the Tales that Tell the Truth series. We have several books from this series and our kids really enjoy them! This one tells the story of Zacchaeus up in the tree eager to see Jesus. I love how this book powerfully demonstrates how genuine repentance and faith in Jesus leads us to a life that is transformed. We can change because of his sanctifying work in our lives. I think my favorite part is how this book relates this story to kids lives so well, showing how we often sin (taking something that doesn't belong to you, being greedy, being unkind), but because of Jesus we can repent and turn from our sin.

The gospel is presented very clearly without oversimplifying or diluting it in this engaging picture book. Zacchaeus' life is presented as a compare and contrast before and after Jesus...before he was short, rich and unhappy and after he was still short, not as rich, but had so much more joy. I'd definitely recommend adding this one to your home library!

1 Jul 2024

“A true delight”

This book carries on this series so well. None of them were disappointed!

The story of Zaccheus is one of my favourites so I was delighted to see it in picture book form.

The illustrations are captivating. The way it is written draws in both the young and old. We love it!

25 Jun 2024

“The transformational power of encountering Jesus”

What a wonderful message told in such a fun way to make kids engage with the powerful story of Zacchaeus. He was transformed by encountering Jesus and we get to be transformed too.

This Tales to Tell the Truth is once again presenting the gospel in a theologically solid and accessible way to littles.

20 Jun 2024

“A fun, Biblically accurate retelling of the story of Zacchaeus, for kids!”

My daughter and I both enjoyed the short, easy to understand story and talked about the brand new start that was awarded to Zacchaeus after he received Jesus into his home. The book then reminds children and readers that even when they sin, they have the opportunity to remember what Jesus says, the salvation He gives and offers a sample, short prayer of repentance.

I liked that the book has a focus on kindness (not taking what does not belong to us) and as God has instructed us because of the deep love we have inside for Jesus, as Christians.

The illustrations are eye-catching and entertaining, while depicting the story well. The book itself is large and great quality. We love the muted colors inside and found the book to be a unique way to present the salvation message in our home.

* I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

18 Jun 2024

“Bringing the Bible to the World of kids”

This book is apart of the tales that tell the truth series. If you’ve been here a while you know this is my FAV series for teaching my kids alongside the Bible. I truly love how the gospel is brought into the children’s world and always points us back to Jesus.

The Story of Zacchaeus is a reminder of how Christ came to love all. He came for those who weren’t even the nicest. It was a great teaching lesson with my kids and how we are called to love. I highly recommend this book to parents looking to have beautiful and solid faith based books in their home.

16 Jun 2024

“Another faithful and fun read from the series!”

Tales that Tell the Truth continues to be our family's favourite Christian kid lit series!

Catalina's illustrations are lively and captivating. Carl's writing is faithful, easy to understand and lively (we absolutely love his God's Big Promises Bible storybook!).

We particularly liked the way Carl presents a changed Zacchaeus after he's met Jesus - "He was still short. He was a lot poorer. But now he was a lot, lot happier, and he was a lot, lot kinder... because he knew that Jesus loved him, and he loved Jesus - and that made all the difference." Then Carl takes us to application, where we reflect how we are as lost people, and how we can change as we repent and turn back to Jesus. What a refreshing and freeing truth to remember.

Please keep these books coming!

Note: Thank you @thegoodbookau for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

5 Jun 2024

“Refreshing take on a popular children’s Bible story”

What a wonderful addition to the Tales that Tell Truth book series! Every book in this series is a great way to include scripture based books in your day but this one is a true gem.

Zaccheus is one of those stories that I have heard since childhood and even my 6 year old said “I already know this story”. We were both pleasantly surprised at how refreshing and encouraging this book was as it included and emphasized Zaccheus’ change of heart before and after he met Jesus.

This book presents a wonderful picture of the gospel and how our lives do change for the better after we meet Jesus. Even I was challenged and encouraged on how I share the way Jesus has changed my life to live more joyfully with him each day.

5 Jun 2024

“LOVE this bright story that reveals how God's love changes us!”

The Man in the Tree and the Brand New Start is a fabulous book! I love the beautiful bright illustrations and the fun way it brings the story of Zacchaeus to life.

It shares the wonderful truth of how meeting Jesus changes our hearts, which ultimately changes our actions toward ourselves and others. Perfect!

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

4 Jun 2024


My kids loved this book! In fact, we’ve already read through it a couple times. And although familiar with the story already, reading and exploring this book refreshes the story in our minds and has us reexamining the timeless tale in a new way.

Towards the end of the book, the author brings the story full circle to modern times and how we can all apply what Zacchaeus learned to our own lives.

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The Man in the Tree and the Brand New Start | Carl Laferton, Catalina Echeverri |
£9.99 £7.99