Sunday schools may want to feature this work in classrooms where young listeners can appreciate the appealing,...

READ REVIEW

GOD ALWAYS LOVES YOU

In rhyming couplets, a debut picture book assures young Christian readers that God loves them no matter what while also praising good behavior.

Beginning with the birth of a brown-haired girl, who serves as the lead character, the story tells readers that God whispered his love to them as soon as they were born. In addition, God’s love continues to pour out during milestones: “God loves you when you learn to walk, / God loves you when you start to talk.” The dark-haired girl and her blond brother grow up in the illustrations, accompanied by rhymes that supply two similar ideas (trying something new or singing in a church choir) or link opposing concepts (when you’re happy and when you’re upset). The best rhymes either present comparable ideas (where the pictures don’t contradict the lines of the couplets) or have the girl represent one concept and her brother the opposing one. The book matches “God loves you when you stumble and fall, / God loves you and helps you stand tall” with an illustration of the girl, who has tumbled on the playground and scraped her leg; her brother stands next to her, hand outstretched, offering assistance. In other opposing pairs, only one of the two ideas is depicted, so that glad/mad shows the girl dropping her ice cream on the ground and appearing upset, and blunder/wonder displays an impressive, cartoonish image of the heroine looking with awe at a ladybug that landed on her finger in a daisy-covered meadow. For families seeking a way to introduce the concepts of unconditional love and God’s presence to their youngest children, these comforting rhymes, even when partially in conflict with the pictures, provide an opening for that conversation. The repeated “God loves you” at the beginning of each line drives that idea home, and Laird’s uncomplicated rhymes and rhythms scan well throughout, always feeling natural. Much of the tale happens in the images, as the girl evolves from a tiny baby to a child who sometimes makes mistakes but has a kind spirit (she shares Easter eggs she finds with her brother). While the main characters are white, the picture of a church choir includes a variety of ethnicities.

Sunday schools may want to feature this work in classrooms where young listeners can appreciate the appealing, child-friendly illustrations and simple poetry.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4808-3907-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2017

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JESUS LOVES ME!

The words to this traditional children’s hymn serve as the text for a pleasant interpretation focusing on a family of three bears: a father, mother and child. The storyline begins with the father bear reading a children’s Bible with the little bear and continues throughout the family’s day as they garden, fish, bake and decorate Easter eggs. On several spreads the bears are shown hiking and singing the words of the song together, indicated by speech balloons. The general theme of love and caring for others is always apparent even on those pages where the words of the song aren’t directly related to the bears’ activities. Warnes provides engaging illustrations of the smiling bear family, with expressive faces and charming details such as a fiddle and a fishing hat for the father and a stuffed bunny for the child instead of a teddy bear. This reassuring version of a beloved Sunday-School standard provides an introductory context to the song for very young children, who will enjoy the cozy world of this anthropomorphic bear family. Music and guitar chords are included. (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-4169-0065-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2006

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Though the rhyme tumbles and at times bumbles, enticing imagery will lure readers in.

GOD SPEAKS IN WHISPERS

Rhyming text and colorful multicultural illustrations reassure young readers of God’s omnipresence and still small voice.

“Where in the world is God’s voice found?” Perhaps in ocean waves, bird song, or mountain vistas, suggest the couplet rhymes. Even when readers might be faced with difficult emotions and distractions of all kinds, the text reassures them that God is still there and still speaking, if only one pauses to listen. His voice can be found in nature, in starlight, in the love of family and friends, in dreams, and “through His Word.” Admirably, the bright illustrations, reminiscent of mid-20th-century Disney artist Mary Blair’s stylings, depict children and families with a diverse array of skin tones and ages. There is also a refreshing mix of urban, suburban, and rural settings. Yet, despite the appealing illustrations, the rhymes and scansion are often forced (“your feelings, they matter, / even if they’re all mixed up like / pancake batter”), which detracts from the overall message. Contrived couplets notwithstanding, this title will likely find an audience among Christian households seeking reassuring bedtime reads.

Though the rhyme tumbles and at times bumbles, enticing imagery will lure readers in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65385-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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