Children's books featuring a photograph of your own little pum'kin have been popular for quite some time. Jesus Loves Me, a Picture-Me-Book, is one of the few offerings with a Christian slant.
In this book, a girl's body is shown doing typical childhood activities: getting out of bed, playing jump rope, refusing to eat vegetables, getting (temporarily) lost at the mall, having a birthday party, pretending to be a princess, praying, and the like. Where the girl's face should be is a die-cut hole. Tape a photograph of your little miss on the back cover of the book, and viola! Suddenly your little one is the star of the show.
The rhyming text explains that Jesus loves the pictured girl no matter what she's doing throughout the day.
What I Like: The concept is a good one. Kids usually like looking at photographs of themselves, and the novelty of being the leading character in a book has strong appeal. Too, the truth that Jesus loves us - no matter what - is one we can't emphasize too often.
What I Dislike: The text (written by "Dandi," the back cover says) fumbles around with awkward phrasings. For example:
"If I fuss when I see
on my plate broccoli,
even then - totally
Jesus loves me."
More troubling are sections that seem to suggest bad things will never happen. For example, the little girl argues with her friend, and her cat runs away...but both the cat and the friend come back - because Jesus loves our heroine. And when she gets lost in the mall, "Jesus never lets me down. Before you know it - I am found." I also find the illustrations by Bill Wilson a little odd. The leading lady looks awfully hulky, with manlike hands. Some parents will also object to the cover illustration, which includes a depiction of Jesus.
Overall Rating: Ho-hum.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 8
Publishing Info: Playhouse, 1995; ISBN: 1571515267; paper back, $5.99.
Special Info: The illustrations in this book feature a Caucasian-looking family for the leading character. Other pictured children have different skin tones, but if your girl's skin isn't fair, this book won't really work for you.