Tuesday, June 23, 2009

God Loves His Precious Children: Safe in the Arms of the Good Shepherd

Although they each have written several books on their own, husband and wife Jim and Elizabeth George, teamed up to write God Loves His Precious Children: Safe in the Arms of the Good Shepherd. This book offers a fresh perspective on Psalms 23, known as “The Shepherd Psalm.” The text for the book centers on the theme of the good shepherd, using verses from the psalm. Written in rhyme, each two-page spread highlights a different verse or a different line in the psalm. The Bible verse that relates to the text is also given. For instance, the book begins:

Every child needs someone, a person who cares,
God is that Someone, the Bible declares.
I don’t have to worry, I need never fear;
The Lord is my Shepherd – He’s always right here!

This text relates to Psalm 23:1A: “The Lord is my Shepherd,” which is the beginning line of the psalm. Subsequent lines are used throughout the book, and the last section relates to the last line of the psalm: “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6B).

There is a letter to the reader at the beginning of the book, explaining the importance and significance of the text. A section at the end of the book called “Words to know,” gives meanings to some of the words used throughout the text, such as “precious,” “loyal,” and “forevermore.”

All the illustrations, by Judy Luenebrink, have something do to with sheep. The watercolor paintings are colorful and very realistic and add much to the text.

What I Like: I like the way this much-quoted verse is depicted in both words and illustrations. As you probably know, I’m not a big fan of rhyming picture books. However, for the most part, the rhyme scheme in this one works very well. There are only a couple of places where the words don’t really rhyme.

What I Dislike: I think the layout of the book is a bit boring. Although the illustrations are truly delightful, and the writing is very good, each two-page spread is set up the same way: The illustration covers the entire two pages. On each two-page spread there is a rectangular section in the top right-hand corner of the left page where the text is written on a plain white background. This works well for most of the book, but I think it would have been better if some of the pages had the text placed in a different spot – just for a change of pace.

Overall Rating: The overall rating is still very good.

Age Appeal: 4-8.

Publisher Info: Publisher Info: Harvest House Publishers, 2004; ISBN: 0736911375; Hardback, $16.00.

Special Info: Read our reviews of other books by this author/illustrator team. Visit Jim’s website. Visit Elizabeth’s website. Visit the illustrator’s website.

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