Sunday, April 21, 2019

Stop-and-Go Devotional by Diane Stortz, illustrated by Hannah Marksis

Stop-and-Go Devotional: 52 Devotions for Busy Families features a one-page Bible story with a thematic title and full page illustration; followed by a “think and talk” section with a short paragraph of connecting the story to the child’s life, two questions for reflection and discussion, and a prayer; and the final section introduces an activity, a key point, and an easy Bible verse. The book is evenly divided between the Old Testament and New Testament.

The devotions are written for children to read themselves or with a parent. As some of the activities require going somewhere, or gathering certain materials (possibly including shopping), it seems like it would be most beneficial for an adult to read the section ahead of time and then suggest the devotion on a day suited to the activity. It may be that a particular days activity is also easily completeable at home without extra preparation, such as singing a song. The devotional is described as being for preschoolers and primary-grad children.

For example, the Good Friday Bible story is titled, "The Saddest Day." It references Matthew 27 and Mark 15. The "Stop and Read" section features dialogue from Jesus and one of the soldiers at the cross. Bold, colored onomatopoeia add emotion and sensory details to Jesus' death, after which "Roar! Rumble! The earth shook. Rocks split apart" (165).  "Think and Talk" provides questions such as "What are sins? Do you ever sin?" (166). For the activity, the book suggests finding craft sticks or paint stirrers to make a "Jesus Saves" cross where the first 's' in Jesus written across the horizontal stick leads into 'saves' on the vertical stick. The key point is: "Remember Jesus saves us" (167) with 1 Corinthians 15:3 ICB "Christ died for our sins" as the Bible verse.

The Easter story follows, titled, "Good News!" and referencing Matthew 28, Mark 16, and Luke 24. The onomatopoeia "Rumble! Rumble!" is repeated in the story section, as well as repetition from the angels and Jesus of "Don't be afraid" (169). Reflection questions include "Is there someone you could tell the good news about Jesus today?" (170). The activity is planting peas or beans, which requires some planning on the part of an adult to have the necessary supplies. "Remember Jesus is alive!" the key point directs (171). The Bible verse is Acts 2:32 NLT, "God raised Jesus from the dead."

The book is one that families will turn to daily or weekly for 52 different stories, reflections, and activities. To support that use, there is a ribbon bookmark sewn into the spine The cover features spot gloss and the end papers are full-color illustrations, but all of these features do not fully make up for the shock of a $17.99 list price.

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