Friday, April 13, 2007

If Jesus Walked Beside Me

If Jesus Walked Beside Me poses an interesting question: If Jesus were a buddy who went with me wherever I go, what would life be like? In rhyming text, author Jill Roman Lord talks about some typical childhood difficulties that would be made easier if Jesus were present: When a boy is up to bat, he'd "hit the ball so hard, it'd fly to China or Japan;" riding the new bike would be simple; being sick wouldn't be so uncomfortable; storms wouldn't be scary; skating a figure eight would be easy; and when children teased, the child could say:

"It's time you met my greatest friend,

Who helps me all day through.

If you'd take Jesus as your friend,

He'd do the same for you."

The book ends with Jesus saying that he's always there to guide you through the day; he's just "a prayer away." The author then asks what the child being read to would do if Jesus walked with them, also.

What I Like: The idea behind this story is great. Children need to understand how a relationship with Christ affects their everyday lives. (And for those who don't like picture books that show the face of Jesus, you'll be pleased to know this book shows his body, but never his face.)

What I Dislike: I wish the author had made it clear that Jesus isn't walking with us on earth (as is illustrated in the book), but he is with us spiritually. Parents will need to explain this to their children. Also, the illustrations by Renee Graef are pretty boring. The colors are blah, and there's little action in each illustration. Sometimes all we see is a static image with nothing interesting even in the background. On the up side, boys and girls of many backgrounds are pictured.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: The back of the book suggests this story is for toddlers, but I doubt most toddlers could sit through it. Instead, I suggests it's better for kids 4-9.

Publishing Info: Candy Cane Press, 2006; ISBN: 0824966384; board book, $6.95

Buy Now at Amazon for $6.95.

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