Prayer Power with Nehemiah the Praying Mantis was written by Jilly Framke and illustrated by Kristen Polson. Broken into nine 2-3 page chapters, this picture book follows a praying mantis named Nehemiah as he teaches two young kids about prayer. First he meets Jeffy, an adventurous boy who is seven and a half. The two become quick friends while pretending to be super heroes and building a block wall around Sophie's sand castle. Sophie is Jeffy's four-year-old sister. Together the three explore four building blocks of prayer:
- Praise: Tell God how great He is.
- Thanks: Tell God what you're thankful for.
- Repent: Ask God to forgive you for what you've done wrong.
- Share: Tell God about your dreams, wishes, worries, whatever's on your mind.
Nehemiah explains you can pray anytime and anywhere, and you can never pray too much. After the children practice praying, Nehemiah shares with them the story of his namesake: Nehemiah from the Old Testament, then he leaves to teach other children about the power of prayer.
After Nehemiah leaves, Jeffy realizes something: "Super hero strength doesn't come from this silly cape ... It's in our hearts and it comes from knowing God!"
The book provides an epilogue with more details about the real Nehemiah, including references, and a "blue print" for prayer that reviews the four building blocks and examples. Also, an audio book download is available through the publisher's website.
What I Like: This book beautifully entwines solid biblical teaching with funny, creative storytelling. The author offers a ton of cute details that help keep readers attention in spite of the length. I also really like the extra features in the back.
What I Dislike: It's long. My kids (3 and almost 5) have yet to sit through it. The illustrations lack detail. They feature a lot of color, but the style is too simplistic for my taste.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: 4-8
Publisher Info: Tate Publishing, 2007; ISBN: 9781602473041; Paperback; $14.99
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