Each two page spread in this beautifully illustrated book reminds readers God is with us - no matter what! You may be "facing a scary time," God may feel far away, everything may seem awry, you might be hurting, others may tell lies about you, nobody may seem to understand, someone you love might die, you might need to do difficult things, your best friend might move away...but God is with you and will help you.
For example, in the first two page spread, titled "When You're Facing a Scary Time," Libby reminds readers about the biblical Isaac, who moved to a new place "where the neighbors were unfriendly." But God remained with him. Then he tells a story about how he and his boyhood friend once accidentally got locked inside a school building that seemed empty. They panicked and broke a window trying to escape. Just then, a janitor walked into the hallway. "If we had waited just a few more seconds, we would not have broken the window. We forgot that God is always with us. The God who was Isaac's Friend in scary times is your Friend too. God would like us to remember him when we feel afraid."
The last several pages of this book remind us that God is knocking at the door of our hearts. If we haven't already let him in, Libby says he hopes will will do it right away. The last page of the book offers a simple prayer for doing so.
Throughout, Corbert Gauthier's illustrations delight. He gives us everything from luscious woodlands filled with beautiful animals, to humorous and expressive young children (of various ethniticies) playing baseball, to a depiction of Jesus playing with children in biblical times. Each illustration is detailed and rich.
What I Like: I like Libby's style. As you read this book, it really does feel like a grandfather or father is sitting with you by the fireside, offering gentle advice through relatable stories. Libby also offers scripture references throughout. Cauthier's traditional and warm illustrations are a perfect match.
What I Dislike: Nothing, but some parents may object that three illustrations depict Jesus Christ.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 8, but I think kids even a bit older will like this one.
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2003; ISBN: 0310703433; hardback; $12.99
Special Info: Visit artist Corbert Gauthier's website for peek at his lovely artwork. Read more of our reviews for Larry Libby's titles, as well as Corbert Gauthier's books.