Monday, September 24, 2007

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?

Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?, written by Nancy White Carlstrom and illustrated by Lori McElrath-Eslick, is a beautifully illustrated conversation between a child named Katrina and her parents. Each double-paged spread contains a question from Katrina and an answer from one of her parents. All the questions are about God: What does God wear? Can God tie shoes? How does God talk? etc. Each answer from her parents is a paraphrased Biblical reference from the book of Psalms. Sometimes Katrina comments on her parents’ answers, sometimes she doesn’t.

For instance, in the first double-paged spread, the dialogue goes like this:

Mama, what does God wear?

I don’t know, Katrina. But He dresses the hills with joy and the meadows with sheep. And the flowers never have to worry about what to put on.

I think God wears orange beads when the sun comes up and a big grey hat when it rains.

This type of dialogue continues throughout the book. The last two pages of the book contain the Biblical references for the parents’ answers to Katrina’s questions.

Each life-like oil painting (except one) covers a double-paged spread, with the text printed on the illustration. The pictures depict Katrina’s interaction with her parents and her world.

What I Like: I like the simple text, the child-like questions, and the life-life illustrations throughout the book.

What I Dislike: As shown in the above reference to the text, the speakers are not identified. By reading the above text, we can determine that Katrina asked the question and her mama answered it. It might be confusing to children that no reference is given to the speaker of the last sentence (“I think God wears orange beads. . . ”), even though adults would recognize the speech patterns and word choices as coming from a child.

Also, I think it would have been a bit better if the Biblical references for the answers were printed at the bottom of the pages they referenced, rather than just lumped together at the end of the book.

Overall Rating: However, the overall rating is still very good.

Age Appeal: 4-8.

Publisher Info: Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1993; ISBN: 080285074X; Hardcover: $15.00.

Special Info: Visit the author’s website. Visit the illustrator’s website.

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