The books I've read by Sally Lloyd-Jones have never let me down, and My Promise Rainbow is no exception. This board book tells the tale of Noah's ark, but in an unusual way. There is no chronological telling of the familiar biblical story...No mention of God telling Noah to build a big boat, no explanation given for why God flooded the world. Instead, My Promise Rainbow explains why the rainbow is a special Christian symbol.
No, you won't find God showing Noah a rainbow and saying that it's a promise not to flood the earth again; that would probably be a bit too much for young children to comprehend fully. Instead, Lloyd-Jones begins the book by asking what a rainbow is made of. Is it just random colors in the sky? Actually, the author says, "a rainbow's mostly made of love, and here's the reason why..."
It begins with Noah, the author tells us, when God told him: "A storm is coming, but I'll be with you. I'll keep you safe. My promise is true." Each subsequent two-page spread features a color of the rainbow and how it related to the story of Noah. For example, purple represents the scary storm, green is for the land and trees that were flooded, and red is for God's strong love. For each color, the theme of the book is repeated: "I'll keep you safe. My promise is true." The last two pages of the book feature modern children declaring that a rainbow is made of God's great love for us. "A rainbow is to show something that is true: God, who took care of Noah, will take great care of you."
But this is only the beginning of what's taught in My Promise Rainbow. Biblical truth comes first, and each page also features a flap with a Bible verse beneath it. For example, on the page where the storm begins, the flap reads: "A promise for when I'm scared: God said, 'Don't be afraid. I am with you.' Isaiah 43:5." The book also teaches colors; more flaps on each page have a color's name, and then various things that could be that color. On the green page, for example, flaps reveal "2 green frogs," "2 green turtles," etc. (Most things are shown in pairs, but there are a few examples of just one "thing.") The author also asks: "What else is green?" making each page a launching pad for conversation.
What I Like: Flaps are ideal for curious toddlers, and the colorful, playful illustrations by Patricia Jennings are perfectly kid-friendly. I also love that there are many ways to read this book. At one reading, you could focus just on the biblical story; at another reading, you could ask your child questions related to the Bible verses; at another reading, you could focus on learning colors; at another reading, you could work on animal names and sounds; etc. And, as usual, Lloyd-Jones does a great job of taking complex ideas and writing about them in a way that even small children can understand.
What I Dislike: Sometimes the rhyming text is awkward.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: Toddler to preschool.
Publishing Info: Standard Publishing, 2002; ISBN: 978-0784713570; board book, $11.99
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