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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A straightforward rhyming explanation of the Gospel for the very young.

ZOE'S GOSPEL HOPE

A grandparent answers their grandchild’s questions by telling the story of Jesus in this picture book.

“Granfoo, Granfoo who made the sky? / And who made me, Granfoo, and why?” asks Zoe. The light-brown–skinned girl, who wears a bright purple dress, wants answers to some of life’s big questions. And Granfoo, who has pale skin and wears jeans and a blouse, is happy to answer them. She ushers Zoe to a comfy spot on the porch and brings out a Bible. In simple, rhyming text, Granfoo describes how God created everything in the world and tells the story of Jesus. After a preschool-appropriate description of sin—“the bad things we do”—Granfoo shares the more challenging story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Smith’s vocabulary is simple and accessible, and the rhymes scan well throughout. Yongco’s cartoon illustrations show the clearly loving relationship between grandparent and child (who appear to be part of a multiracial family), set against a lush green yard and large, rural-feeling porch. While some churches may hesitate to fully embrace the statement of original sin Granfoo espouses, Sunday school teachers and parents looking for a rudimentary explanation of the Christian story of sin, death, and rebirth may find Smith’s picture book a good place to start.

A straightforward rhyming explanation of the Gospel for the very young.

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-66420-250-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2021

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