This book's text is The Lord's Prayer, no more, no less. But the illustrations by Tim Ladwig offer much more, a story behind the words, as told through the eyes of a little girl.
She watches carefully as her earthly father exemplifies our heavenly Father. Together they work hard to fix an elderly lady's fence and maintain her yard. During the process, the young girl finds a gold treasure, something like a coin. Later when the woman tries to pay, the father forgives her debts and refuses to accept the money. Seeing this, the young girl decides to resist temptation and confesses to finding the coin. The elderly woman rewards the girl with the coin and a necklace from which to hang it. Readers then see that it's actually a circle pendant engraved with The Lord's Prayer.
What I Like:The illustrations are amazing! Both vivid and thoroughly detailed, they tell a story all their own. I also appreciate the urban setting. Most picture books are in the suburbs or country. This definitely fills a void for kids growing up in a city.
What I Dislike: The pictures often seem unrelated to the text. This book took a LOT of explanation from me and even then I don't think my children understood the correlation. Also, the book relys heavily on the example of an earthly father to understand our heavenly Father. For broken families, this may raise more questions than it answers. Finally, this book seemed exclusive. Even though our family is interracial, I felt a little like an outsider. I would have liked a bit more diversity, even if only in background characters.
Overall Rating: Good
Age Appeal: The publisher says "all ages", but I recommend 5 and above.
Publisher Info: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2000; ISBN: 0802852800; Hardback; $17.00 (Paperback version also available from Eerdmands, 2002; ISBN: 0802852386; $8.50
Or buy it at Amazon.com for $12.75 (hardback) or $8.50 (paperback).
Special Info: All the characters in this book are African-American. Visit the illustrator's website for a taste of his extraordinary talents.