Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Sidney and Norman

Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales, has risen to new heights with Sidney & Norman: A Tale of Two Pigs. Next door neighbors, Sidney and Norman are two pigs who are very different. Norman always found it easy to be neat and good and follow the rules. Sidney, on the other hand, struggled to get anything right. They were both aware of the strengths Norman possessed and the weaknesses that made up Sidney. One day they each received identical invitations -- to meet with God! Norman was immediately filled with excitement for the reward he must be receiving. Afterall, he was a good pig, much better than his sloppy neighbor. Meanwhile, Sidney was filled with dread. He was convinced God was disappointed in him, just like everyone else was. This meeting must be to tell him what a failure he was. The invitations were the same, but the messages God had for these pigs were very different. Norman knew God loved him, but he thought it was because he was so good. What he didn't know is that God loved his neighbors just as much as He loved him. Norman needed to put away his pride and see others the way God sees them. Sidney needed to only know one thing: God loved him. In spite of all his messes and short-comings, God loved him very much. This book holds a wonderful message for children and adults alike. The illustrations by Justin Gerard are at times monochromatic, but always enchanting. Filled with detail, the full-page paintings in a Caravaggio-like style feature wonderful contrast, reinforcing the vast difference between the two title characters.

What I Like: Everything! It is fantastically written and illustrated beautifully. My husband and I have both found great value in this book. It offers a profound and necessary message. Our kids are still too young to fully understand the story, but they love looking at the pictures. And don't miss the gems in the back! Some of the best parts of this story are in the "About This Book" and "Using This Book with Kids" parts.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent!

Age Appeal: 4-8, though it is applicable through adulthood

Publisher Info: Tommy Nelson, 2006; ISBN: 1400308348; Hardback; $15.99

Buy it Now at Amazon for $11.67

Additional Info: Visit the author's website at www.philvischer.com.

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