This book introduces Gracie, a young girl who wants to share with everyone "the best news in the whole world ... that God loves you and wants to be with you forever." She goes on to explain real happiness only comes from God. God wants us to be happy, but we have a problem: sin. Sin is the bad things we do. "You sin with your words, thoughts and actions." Gracie asks children if they have ever been punished by their parents for doing something wrong. "The punishment for sin is separation from God." She continues to tell readers that Jesus lived a perfect life and died on a cross to take our punishment for sin. Three days later He rose from the dead. He is alive and wants to give us eternal life as a free gift.
Gracie explains that some people believe they can earn their way to heaven by doing good things. "But no one is good enough to go to heaven. Being good does not take away your sins. Jesus is the only One who can take away the sin that separates you from God." Gracie says we only need to trust in Jesus, the same way we trust in an airplane. We don't do anything to help the airplane fly, and there is nothing we can do to help ourselves be saved.
When we trust in Jesus, He gives us a home in heaven. "Even if you die, you will come back to life -- just like Jesus did!" All our sins are erased the moment we trust in Jesus. Before trusting in Jesus, "sin bosses you around." But trusting in Jesus sets us free so that we can love and obey God. Gracie explains that when we trust in Jesus, we become children of God and God will never stop loving us -- even if we do bad things. God wants us to grow to be like Jesus, so He sent the Holy Spirit to help. We grow by spending time with God: reading our Bibles and praying.
Scripture references are noted on every page to reinforce the facts of the text. The author includes a note to parents at the beginning and end of the book offering further explanation and helps for teaching this important message to children.
The illustrations, also done by Joey Allen, are cute -- similar to the original Campbell's Soup Kids. The background is always white, but the drawings are bold and colorful.
What I Like: This book is incredible! We need more books like this that clearly state the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith for young minds. The text is perfectly accurate, directly in line with Scripture, yet told at a level children can understand. I wasn't thrilled with the illustrations at first, but my kids love them. The size of the book is great too. The author packs all the necessary information in a tight package. It's great.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent!
Age Appeal: 4-8 (my 3-year-old also likes it)
Publisher Info: New Leaf Press, 2005; ISBN: 0892216174; Hardback; $5.99
Buy it Now at Amazon for $5.99!