A unique offering for a family read-aloud. (Poetry. 4-6)

WHEN DADDY PRAYS

Fourteen graceful poems portray a small boy’s relationship with his prayerful father.

Whether the narrator is at bat for his team, coming home from school, helping to weed a garden, or being tucked in at night, he “hears” his father praying. Each poem in a different cadence fits the mood of the experience. The title poem is almost a lullaby: “When Daddy prays / my fear of darkness disappears / and angels tiptoe down the hall. / I hear them through the door and wall. / They whisper in a velvet husssshhh / that floats me off to sleep / when Daddy prays.” Several of the poems seem to be from an adult perspective rather than a small boy’s. Finding his Daddy in prayer, he kneels beside him knowing what to say: “Our Father, whose heart is heaven . . . ” The first poem entitled “A Father’s Prayer” reads, in part, “May my children see / beyond my muscles / to your strength. / May they find across my broad shoulders / the imprint of your wings.” Bold, strong pictures match the poetry and anchor the writing in an everyday world. Daddy is a tall, muscular man, at times overpowering the pictures and projecting a protective feeling very much in keeping with the poetry. Predominant colors of deep browns and yellows depict an African-American family in a warm home atmosphere. Close-ups of father and son contrast with outdoor scenes and give liveliness to the pages. The jacket is striking and depicts the small boy dressed in his Daddy’s clothes, looking in a mirror in which the image of his father looks out, dressed in the same clothes as the child.

A unique offering for a family read-aloud. (Poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8028-5152-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2002

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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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A likely choice for those seeking a children’s Christian Bible.

GOD GAVE US THE BIBLE

45 FAVORITE STORIES FOR LITTLE ONES

A children’s storybook features 45 foundational stories from the Christian Bible.

A young polar bear is having a sleepover with several friends of different species. After a fun day, Mama Bear calls the youngsters in for storytime. Explaining that the Bible “is the story God gave us,” she proceeds to tell stories from the Old and New Testaments. She begins with the Creation story in Genesis, moves on through Exodus, and concludes with Paul’s missionary work. The anthropomorphic little animals are an effective feature of the book, as they frequently comment on the stories and question Mama Bear. Why didn’t God simply put a fence around the tree with the forbidden fruit? wonders Little Otter, giving Mama Bear the opportunity to teach the little ones about free will and choosing to love and obey God. Little Cub wants to know how Noah was able to find land with the Ark, and Mama Bear explains about having faith that God will steer you correctly. The questions and the wonderment the little animals express well reflect the reactions and inquiries many children are likely to have. The illustrations are warm and colorful throughout, with interesting details to catch readers’ attention. Little Cub and his friends are particularly well drawn, combining both realistic animal details with human expressions. Characters in the Bible stories are olive-skinned humans.

A likely choice for those seeking a children’s Christian Bible. (Religion. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-9190-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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