Friday, October 19, 2007

Best of All

Punchinello and Lucia return in Best of All by Max Lucado. In this book, the little wooden people of Wemmicksville are anticipating a very special guest: Miss Bess Stovall. Everyone wants to meet her because she's famous. Bess Stovall comes to choose the best to be members of the Wonderful Wemmicks Club. She enters town with great pomp and circumstance and carefully investigates each citizen. This one is too short and this one has a nose that's too large. When she sees Lucia, she's immediately excited. They're both made of maple and even come from the same forest. That means they must be from "the same ances-tree!"

Before long everyone in town judges each other by Bess Stovall's standards -- the grain of their wood -- rather than the character of their hearts. Even Lucia falls in line by shunning her friend, Punchinello, because he's "a weak willow." Eli, the Wemmick-maker, finds Punch and reminds him that he was made exactly the way the Maker wanted him. He is special just as he is.

The story escalates when Bess Stovall falls from her carriage; left dangling over the river. Only Punchinello is limber enough to reach her. He saves her life! The villagers gather around Punch to congratulate and thank him for his kindnesses and apologize for being wrongfully judgemental. They agree that all are equally special, even if they're different.

What I Like: The lesson is beautiful and important for children of all ages. The illustrations by Sergio Martinez are, as always, wonderful! I also appreciated the specificity of Lucia's answer for being mean to Punchinello: "I've been listening to much to them not enough to [my Maker]." I also liked that not everyone changed their tune at the end of the story. Miss Bess Stovall was left alone at the river still searching for her treasured pendant, while the others repented. It's wonderful for children to see people can and do change, but it's also good for them to understand not everyone turns nice in the end.

What I Dislike: There is nothing specific I disliked. I love the Wemmicks series, but this book fell flat. It was cliche and predictable. It's a wonderful book; I've just come to expect more from this author.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 4 and up

Publisher Info: Crossway Books, 2003; ISBN: 1581345011; Hardcover; $15.99

Buy it Now at for $11.99!

See our other reviews of books by Max Lucado.

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