We’ve recently had the opportunity to review three new children’s books from various publishers. Read below for our thoughts!
Three New Children’s Books about Faith
Your Core by Callie Grant, Illustrated by Missi Jay (Graham Blanchard, 2014) – This board book is another in the “Absorb” line of books from faith-based family publisher, Graham Blanchard. This book offers an explanation to young readers about what one’s “core” and “soul” is. This book doesn’t go into much detail at all, but the soul is a very hard concept to explain to anyone, especially to young ones. The text stays simple and mostly appropriate for ages 3-5ish. Some of the lines rhyme and some don’t, but the content itself is fairly solid. My kids enjoyed the brightly colored illustrations. The book ends with Ephesians 3:16-17, great versus to focus on for this topic. Your Core can help spark discussion in families about the core and soul.
The Good Dog by Todd Kessler, Illustrated by Jennifer Gray Olson (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2014) – This book is classified as a picture book, but it is nearly three times as long as the majority of traditionally published picture books. The story follows a young boy, Ricky, who finds as little dog, Tako, and whether or not Tako will be able to be a “good dog” and stay with Ricky’s family. The theme itself focuses on listening to what a person (or dog) is really trying to say/show and concentrating on truth. However, this book will probably be too long for most younger readers, not just because of the page count, but because this story is almost two separate stories. Much of the beginning pages could be shortened or cut to get into the action of the story much quicker without taking away from the point of the story or even character development. I also noticed two distinct places where the story jumped from one location or event to another bluntly without transition. Once in the action, the action stays fairly constant. The book discusses a sub theme of “good” and “bad” and how dogs/people can be labeled as “bad” but actually be “good.” This theme is an important one for young kids to understand, but families will need to discuss together how this book approaches it. This book is also on the expensive side for a picture book, with a list price of $18.95, which may reduce its accessibility.
Love Letters from God Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, Illustrated by Sophie Allsopp (Zonderkidz, 2014) – We love this Bible stories book! This picture book-style Bible storybook is presented beautifully in colorful hardback with an almost scrapbook-like appearance. Each spread includes a retelling of a Bible story, a short focus verse, and a lift-the-flap “love letter” from God. The stories are paraphrased for the 4-8 age range and include emotional aspects in the retellings that allow readers to relate to the characters and events. Each story focuses on how the character learned from God and how God remains present in our lives no matter what circumstances may arise. A few of the details are left out of some stories (example: the creation story doesn’t detail the days of creation), but that doesn’t take away from the themes themselves. The focus verses are very appropriate and all short enough to be used as memory verses for even the preschool audience. The “love letters” are elegantly designed to look like envelopes on the outside and a one-paragraph letter from God to the reader on the inside. Each letter has an opening line, allowing you to write the reader’s name in to personalize each letter. These letters summarize the focus of each Bible story sufficiently. The illustrations are colorful, vibrant, and uniquely arranged on each spread. The book ends with an “invitation” to the reader to “join Jesus’s team” and a blank letter to allow the reader to write a “love letter” back to God. This storybook is a lovely addition to a family or church library.
What are some of your favorite new faith-focused children’s books?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of each of these books from their various publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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