Five-Minute Devotions for Children by Pamela Kennedy is a book with a boring title but amazing content.
Each two-page spread in this book features a single devotion. Each devotion focuses on interesting facts about animals; the first paragraph offers scientific information, while the second paragraph gives ideas on what we can learn spiritually from that information. On the opposite side of the page, there are questions to ask your child. Most are spiritual, but some are as simple as "Can you find the frog eggs in this picture?" Each devotion ends with a Bible verse.
For example, one devotion explains that a male emperor penguin keeps his egg warm by placing it atop his feet and covering it with his fat belly. Patient penguin fathers stand like this, without eating anything, for about 54 days.
"Just like the father penguin, sometimes we must be patient and wait for things too. Waiting can seem very hard, especially when we are tired or hungry. But God reminds us that when we are patient, we are showing love. God blesses us when we wait patiently."The author then cites 1 Cor. 13:4 ("Love is patient and kind...") and asks such questions as "How does the father penguin show that he is being patient?" and "Why do you think God says love is patient?"
Topics covered include frogs and polliwogs (God wants us to grow and learn); ants (you are small, but you can do good work); geckos (God wants us to turn to him for safety); sea otters (playing is important, but God also wants us to rest); dolphins (learn to be a good friend); cuckoo birds (don't be selfish); bears (learning is an important part of growing); bats (listening is an important skill); wildcats (control your anger); gorillas (God wants us to be part of a loving family); owls (God wants us to understand things, but when we don't, we can still trust in him); beavers (endurance is an important virtue); rattlesnakes (learn to follow God's warnings); whales (we can praise God through music); rhinos and redbilled oxpeckers (the Golden Rule); aardvarks (use your special gifts to please God); hippos (God wants us to be peacemakers); spiders (God wants us to tell the truth); porcupines (be kind); and monkeys (practice is important).
What I Like: These are well-written, meaningful devotions suitable for the entire family. The illustrations by Amy Wummer are detailed and truly beautiful. This book is one of those happy times when writer and illustrator are equally skilled, making this one of the best children's devotionals around.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 4 to 8
Publisher Info: Ideals Children's Books, 2004; ISBN: 0824954858; spiral-bound; $15.95