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HEAVEN by Anne Graham Lotz


God's Promise for Me

by Anne Graham Lotz, illustrated by Laura J. Bryant

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-310-71601-3
Publisher: Zonderkidz

A little girl and her younger brother learn to accept their grandmother’s death in this rhyming story that explains the concepts of God, Jesus and Heaven in simplified terms for younger children.

The unnamed girl narrates the story, noting their sadness at their grandma’s death and searching for answers by reading the Bible to her brother. She reads from the Book of John, paraphrasing the familiar text that promises that “there are many mansions in my Father’s house.” The realistic setting of the two children in the boy’s bedroom segues into an interpretation of Heaven as a magical, fanciful place filled with smiling children and dancing animals. The sweet, sometimes sing-song verse describes Heaven as a place where no one is old or sick and where children can safely swim with sharks or fly with eagles. Bryant’s cheerful watercolor illustrations imagine Heaven as a sort of pleasant amusement park with Jesus as the headmaster and where children ride on the backs of flying sheep and climb trees with pigs and frogs. The final pages present a conservative Christian philosophy of confession and acceptance of Jesus as one’s personal savior, with the concluding pages offering a prayer for children and the relevant verses from the Book of John. Additional materials include an explanatory letter to parents and other adults, questions for adults to use with children, Bible verse references incorporated into the text and an “RSVP to Jesus” for use by the child reader.

Though the text is on the saccharine side and the heavenly interpretation is a bit far-fetched, this effort does serve as an accessible introduction to difficult concepts. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)