Saturday, March 1, 2008
Mac Lucado's God's Great Big Love For Me tries to impress John 3:16 ("For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.") in the minds of young children, through vivid illustrations, color memory, and persuasive text.
Lucado begins by telling children that "God loves you" - even when you "make bad choices" or do "something you KNOW is wrong...There is NOTHING you can do to make God stop loving you." In fact, God loves us so much, he gave us the most precious thing he could: Jesus. The author then explains that Jesus came from Heaven to earth as a baby; when he grew up, he taught people about God and performed many miracles. How do we thank Jesus for being our "best friend?" Lucado asks. By trusting in him all our lives and becoming his child. Lucado then explains that Jesus will save a spot for us in heaven - a place where there is no fear, anger, or hunger.
On the top of every two page spread are a few words from of John 3:16, and on the opposite side are colored beads on a metal stick secured inside the last page of the book. Each of the beads corresponds with a sidebar found on every two page spread. These sidebars and beads are supposed to make understanding Jesus easier. The black bead, for example, is supposed to remind us that God loves us even when we sin. The red bead reminds us Jesus gave his life for us. The white bead, that Jesus "never did anything wrong." The blue bead, that God is a royal king; the green bead, that God wants us to grow in him; and the yellow bead, that heaven is a joyful place.
What I Like: Laura Logan's illustrations are cute and entertaining. For example, on the page where the author tells us that God loves us even when we do wrong, a full page illustration shows a preschool boy and girl climbing onto the kitchen counter to grab some cookies...and of course, many other items are falling out of the cupboard, too. I also really like the concept of this book; a picture book based on John 3:16 is an excellent idea, and the author offers children many important truths in his text.
What I Dislike: There is just too much going on here. Because John 3:16 is never written out in full (it's just given a few words at a time, every other page), it's really tough to follow. Beginning (and perhaps ending) the book with the full biblical quote would have helped tremendously. And while the beads are a neat idea, I doubt they will really help this book's young target audience. How many preschoolers or toddlers understand that black symbolizes death or sadness, or that blue symbolizes royalty. (Actually, isn't purple the traditional color for royalty?)
Overall Rating: Ho-hum.
Age Appeal: 7 and under.
Publishing Info: Thomas Nelson, 2008; ISBN: 1400311063; board book, $9.99.
Buy Now at ChristianBook.com for $7.99
OR buy at Amazon.com for $9.99
Special Info: The beads make this book unsuitable for children under 3 who are not supervised by an adult. Also, some Christians may object that one illustration shows what is apparently supposed to be Jesus' face.