The inferior book design and dense text do not serve this Bible verse well.


From the Knowing My God series

An exegesis of John 10:14-16 for toddlers.

The biblical text, which begins “I am the good shepherd,” is meted out in short lines on the right-hand side of each double-page spread, written in type meant to look like a child’s handwriting. Below the Scripture on each spread there is a paragraph explaining what a shepherd does, how Jesus is a shepherd and that his followers are his “sheep.” On each facing page is a large photo illustrating the ideas in the text with images of sheep, shepherds and ethnically diverse children at play. The cover, as well as the first two and last two pages of the book, features amateurish cartoons of young children, likely composed on a computer, which jar startlingly against the photos. A note for grown-ups appears at the end describing how to share the book with children of different ages and encouraging parents to let the book grow “with your child.” This suggestion is helpful, since much of the text will likely go over the heads of typical board-book readers. Literal-minded toddlers may be confused by such assertions as, “You—and other people who believe in Jesus are His sheep!” 

The inferior book design and dense text do not serve this Bible verse well. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-2-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A slight but pleasant faith-based morning story


Anthropomorphized animals follow typical morning routines including play and prayers.

A dog, goat, hedgehog, sheep, and dove greet each new activity cheerfully. Then, with eyes closed and paws, hooves, and wings folded, they thank God “for food to eat and friends who share.” After washing up in a river and then wiggling, stretching, and jumping in a meadow, they celebrate: “God has made today. Hooray! Good morning, God!” Pastel backgrounds are vaguely reminiscent of stereotypical images of the Holy Land, with sandstone-colored buildings and a domed tower. The rising sun becomes increasingly prominent, finally appearing as a yellow half circle on the final spread. Toddlers will soon chime in on the “Good morning” refrain. Designed as curriculum for Christian churches, the message is clear and consistent. The best thing about the book is the final message addressed to parents: a gentle assurance that “It’s not easy being a toddler—or the parent of a toddler,” along with advice on how to establish routines and the importance of making one-on-one time part of that routine almost make up for the unsubtle animal illustrations and slight and preachy storyline. Parents seeking such support might do better to sign up for the online newsletter advertised on the back of the book.

A slight but pleasant faith-based morning story . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5064-1785-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

To introduce the literal version of the Bible story this is an acceptable choice, but since it lacks complexity and nuance,...


A popular Sunday school story in board-book format.

The story of Jonah's disobedience and subsequent repentance while in the belly of a big fish (depicted as a whale) is retold in simple language: “Jonah found himself inside the belly of the fish. And that’s where he stayed for three days and three nights.” The illustrations feature round-faced, bearded, olive-skinned men dressed in robes like those used in a Bible school pageant. The most lively part of the story is the storm scene with flashing lightning, booming thunder, and waves battering the ship. In the original, the sailors cast lots to discover who has brought God's wrath to the ship, but here, Jonah calmly volunteers to be thrown overboard. Further, Jonah suffers no anguish while in the whale's belly but quickly turns to prayer. He is shown kneeling in a pristine white robe along with another fish, a bird, and a turtle. Thoms makes some awkwardly modern word choices. Jonah “hopped” on a ship, and the whale says “Blooeey” when it spits Jonah out. With none of the nuance of the original text, the complex tale of God's compassion and Jonah's faith is reduced to a didactic lesson of obedience.

To introduce the literal version of the Bible story this is an acceptable choice, but since it lacks complexity and nuance, one wonders whether the story shouldn’t be saved for an older audience that’s ready for it. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1493-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet