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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 21 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 8.7" x 10.2" x 0.4"
Weight 15.63 oz
Language English
Pages 32
Publisher The Good Book Company

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!

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.

Customer reviews

June 19, 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.

June 17, 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.

June 15, 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.

June 5, 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.

June 4, 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.

June 4, 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.

June 3, 2024

“A wonderful book about redemption & true repentance!”

"There are three things you need to know about Zacchaeus. One: he was very short. Two: he was very rich. But three… he was not very happy."

"The Man in the Tree and the Brand New Start," the latest addition to the captivating "Tales That Tell The Truth" collection, is a unique picture book that delves into the story of Zacchaeus. Most kids probably don't know much about Zacchaeus besides that he 🎶 climbed up in a Sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see. 🎶 But there's so much more to the story than what that simple children's song lets on.

Zacchaeus's story teaches children that once they truly meet Jesus, they will never be the same. It's a story about redemption and true repentance. Carl Laferton does an amazing job of communicating important gospel truths to children without oversimplifying or diluting the message.

I highly recommend this book for all Christian families and classrooms.

Thank you so much, @thegoodbookcompanyusa, for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

June 1, 2024

“Reveals the gospel!”

Our families love the Tales That Tell the Truth Series! With vibrant illustrations by @cataverridoodle, each story conveys important biblical narratives and truths in an engaging way!

This newest one by Carl Laferton tells the story of Zaccheus’s encounter with Jesus that radically changed his life! What could be more important than kids being exposed to the life-changing power of Jesus from a very young age.
We love reading books exactly like this- ones that create opportunities for good questions and rich gospel conversations.

This story is about Zaccheus, but it’s really about Jesus. 💛

June 1, 2024

“Gospel Rich for Little Ones!”

My little one adored this book! She recently learned about the story of Zacchaeus in Sunday school, and it was one of her favorite lessons, so this book was a timely addition to our library. It takes young readers through Zacchaeus’ transformation after encountering Jesus, clearly showing how knowing Christ can change us and how others will notice that change too. In the story, we see Zacchaeus develop a repentant heart and become a friend of Christ and others. It's such a great read! It's worth noting that the book includes cartoon-style depictions of Christ, which might be something to consider if your family has convictions about that.

May 28, 2024

“Connects to Young Readers While Packed with Biblical Truth”

All three of my girls (10,8, and 5) enjoyed this book- mom included. It is geared more towards my 5 year old, but with the Scripture tie-in section in the back, my oldest daughter learned something new too!

While keeping true to Scripture this book through colorful illustrations and fun word plays, was a neat way to share the story of Zacchaeus .

A great book for a baby gift, birthday, or anytime❤️

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The Man in the Tree and the Brand New Start | Carl Laferton, Catalina Echeverri |
$16.99 $14.44