Sunday, August 13, 2017

"Wow! The Good News in Four Words" by Dandi Daley Mackall





Wow! The Good News in Four Words is a 30-page children's book that explains God's salvation plan. The four words are keywords repeated throughout the book: wow, uh-oh, yes, and ahh.





These keywords are anchors to important themes. As explained in the "Note to Parents" at the beginning, Wow is that "God, the Creator, loves us"; Uh-oh is that "we have all sinned, and the result is a broken world and separation from God"; Yes is that "Jesus died for us and rose from the dead--through him we are offered forgiveness and a new beginning...if we say yes"; Ahh is "saying yes to Jesus gives us eternal life and peace"; Wow is "as we grow in faith, we'll want to tell others the Good News." Each of these themes is given one or more Bible passages as references. Additional Bible passages are listed at the end of the book for each keyword.

The book travels from "Let there be light," to Adam and Eve, to the birth of Jesus, to Jesus' death and resurrection. After that, the book switches to more general examples of what this means in life, including Christ is the Life and the Truth and the Way, and the fruit of the Spirit, for example. Simple short sentences are used, with three rhyming lines per stanza. Some pages have one stanza, some have two, but the amount of text is never overwhelming so that the child would lose interest.

The illustrations, drawn by Annabel Tempest, are captivating. They are very busy with a lot of detail--tons of things to look at. It's one of those books where you'll see something new every time you read. As is usual for me, I judge the artist on how cute the animals are, and these ones are excellent. They are cartoon-ish and adorable. I appreciate the frequency with which they appear. Animals fill the pages talking about the Garden of Eden, but also appear scattered throughout the second half of the book.


The only weird thing is that the keywords that have already been used appear along with the current keyword in-text, but kind of faded out. It doesn't really make sense to read them aloud, and therefore I don't really see why they are there. The only thing they possibly do is provide a road map of where the book came from. It doesn't include the keywords yet to come though.

I revived a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not required to post a positive review.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"Precious Moments Little Book of Bible Stories" by Jean Fischer

Precious Moments Little Book of Bible Stories is a small padded-cover board book. It contains 16 stories, ranging from "The Beginning" to "Jesus Lives!" and "Tell the Good News!" Each story is given a name, the Bible chapter or chapters it is based upon, and a short paragraph, while the opposite page has a related one sentence rhyming prayer and a one sentence Bible verse. Each is illustrated in the Precious Moments style--child-like, with colorful pastels and lots of animals.There's also a decorative flower border around the story pages.


The Bible stories are written in short sentences, with easy to understand words. Clarity seems to be the main goal, to the point of taking away some of the interest. However, I still think it would be a good introduction to the Bible stories because they are so short and easy to understand.

True to Precious Moments style, even the adults are drawn very child-like, with the exception of Jesus and Goliath, who are drawn as young men. I especially like the large number of animals in the illustrations, which I think would be appealing to children. For example, there's a story called "Jesus Loves Children" (based on Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18) that features two separate illustrations--one with a young boy and girl reading a book with a puppy stealing a lick of the child's lollipop, while the other shows four friends, one holding a baby bird and one a puppy.

The pages kind of stick together a little bit, making the pages hard to turn. I think this will get easy with each re-read though. The pages are very sturdy and durable.

I think the number of stories in this book is just right, along with the length of the story. There's just enough detail to tell the story.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but was not required to post a positive review.