Two Christian titles have done a great job of characterization and illustrating difficult biblical truths. "Tupsu: A Squirrel Who Was Afraid" by Melody Carlson begins with the joyous heart (personified by a squirrel) who listens to a fox as he tells him there isn't protection in a forest and that there are dangers lurking around every corner. It ultimately takes the opening of Tupsu's eyes to the beauty again and encouragement from other animals, but he returns to a playful state once again. Illustrator Alexander Reichstein shows the forest and the animals so delicately. We found ourselves gazing at the illustrations on several spreads.
"Cow Under the Big Top" holds a similar premise in how the cow moves to a dark place of dissatisfaction and curiosity about a life that could provide more excitement and ultimately fulfillment. I appreciated how quickly the story turns with Cow liking the attention of a circus to being stifled and forced into situations he didn't enjoy. It's very typical of making decisions that lead to emptiness in our own lives, and then realizing God's voice and trusting He's the best way. In the end, Cow reunites with the farmer, and here is where the characterization fits in the sense of a calm, humble farmer with patient, loving God.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.