Monday, February 4, 2008
I am inclined to call A Blessing from Above, written by Patti Henderson and illustrated by Liz Edge, a fairy-tale about adoption, as the story begins with the words “once upon a time...” In the story, Momma-Roo, a kangaroo, has an “empty pouch.” She sees other animals in the forest with their babies and she wants one, too. One day, as she is sitting under a tree, a baby bird falls into her pouch. The mama bird, who has just lost her chick, “knew her nest was not big enough for all her chicks...” and it made her happy “to see her baby blue-bird in such a warm, cuddly place.” Momma-Roo “adopts” the bird as her own and calls it “Little One.” The story ends with these words:
"Now every night before they fall asleep, Momma-Roo and Little One thank God for all their blessings...but especially for each other."
The story references two Bible verses: “Children are a gift from God; they are His reward.” (Psalm 127:3); and “In love he destined us for adoption to himself...”(Ephesians 1:5).
The water-color illustrations are colorful and playful, lending a light-hearted air to the story.
What I Like: The story is short and simple, making it good for young children.
What I Dislike: I don’t like Christian children’s stories that begin with the words “Once upon a time.” That's the way you begin a fairy tale, not a Christian-based story. And the theme, adoption, isn’t handled very realistically in terms of a kangaroo “adopting” a baby bird. This might be a bit confusing for children, leading to more questions than answers for children trying to understand what adoption means. I think the story would have been stronger if the mama kangaroo had adopted a baby kangaroo.
Overall Rating: Good. I give the story a rating of “Good” as it might appeal to some audiences.
Age Appeal: 4-8.
Publisher Info: Golden Books, 2004; ISBN: 0375828664; Hardcover: $2.99.
Special Info: Both the author and the illustrator of this book have personal experience with adoption. Patti Henderson is the mother of two adopted sons and Liz Edge is an adoptee.