Friday, October 10, 2008
Upside Down Rainbows, written by Pamelia Arnold and illustrated by Liz Cortez, is a story about a young girl, Morgan, whose beloved grandmother (Mimi) has recently died. She and her sisters, Brianne and Makenna, all miss Mimi very much. Mimi had been sick for quite some time, and the girls had prayed for her often, asking God to heal her. They couldn’t understand why God hadn’t answered their prayers to make Mimi well again.
One night, Morgan has a dream. She dreams she and her sisters get to visit Mimi in Heaven. Mimi is not sick in Heaven and she is happy there. The girls have tons of questions, but their big question is asked by Brianne, “We don’t mean to sound mad at God or anything like that, but we want to know why you did not get well.”
Mimi replies, “Over and over I did get better for a while. You[r] prayers helped me know you prayed because you loved me. They helped you because you were doing something at a time when there was little else you could do, but you wanted to help – and you did. God heard your prayers.”
Makeena is not satisfied with this answer. She says, “But, Mimi, you said you got better, but you really didn’t.”
Mimi answers, “You see, there were many times I got better, but I got well when I came here. This is a perfect place. I will never be sick again. This truly is the answer to your prayers for me to get well. I am blessed to be here. I would never want to leave. This is my home now.” Mimi tells them an “upside down rainbow” is a reminder that God has heard your prayers, but he may not answer them the way you think he should.
The story is supposed to be a dream, but when Morgan wakes up, she learns both her sisters had the same “dream” she did. So, the reader is left wondering, was it really a dream or was it a vision? That question is never answered, although it is implied that the “dream” was really a vision.
The illustrations are bright and colorful and would appeal to a child. There is color on every page, even those without any illustrations, making the book even more child-pleasing.
What I Like: I like the way the subject of death and answers to prayer are handled in the story. The children in the story must deal with the death of a loved one, which is something many children have to deal with for real. And, just because we didn’t get the answer we wanted when we prayed doesn’t mean God didn’t hear our prayers or answer them in his own way.
I also like the fact that this is an interactive book. There are questions at the end of the book for discussions about the subjects of prayer, death, dreams and rainbows. There are also several blank pages where the reader can draw pictures about things they’re read in the book.
What I Dislike: The story is rather long for a picture book, not because there are 20 pages of text, but because the pictures are rather small in relation to the amount of text on each page: Either the story should have been a bit shorter, or the text should have been broken up with more pictures on more pages.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: 9-12.
Publisher Info: Xlibris Corporation, 2008; ISBN: 1436313821; Hardcover: $21.99.
Special Info: Meet the author at her website.