Grandpa does his best to answer, even though he admits it's "something he can't totally explain." He does explain that the love between mamas and papas is different than the love between brothers and sisters or friends. "God gave us all kinds of love ... His love brings out the best in us." It also helps us see the best in others. When we show love, we share God's love. Even when we don't feel like loving others, we can show them God's love "... by being patient, gentle, and kind."
The text then switches to God's love. How do we know He loves us? How does He show His love for us? Can we ever do anything to make God stop loving us? With consistent patience, Grandpa answers Little Cub's questions. His answers reflect biblical truths: God always hopes for the best in us; He's always with us; He sent His Son to save us.
What I Like: I like the idea of teaching children about the different kinds of love (agape, phileo, and eros). The book does a nice job explaining how to show and share love with others. It keeps a solid God-focus. I especially like that it shares the totality of God's love, that it's unconditional and everlasting. We cannot be separated from it. The illustrations are sweet and the loving family offers a beautiful example.
What I Dislike: While I like the idea and purpose of this book, the delivery falls short. The book doesn't fully answer the questions of what love is and how we know which love is required in which circumstances. The book makes a great start toward answering these questions, but doesn't complete it. It mentions that God sent His Son to save us, but doesn't explain how. It introduces salvation, but fails to show the way. All the explanations are rather vague and abstract.
The text is almost entirely dialog. Because of this, the flow seems stilted. It forces readers to depend heavily on the illustrations to complete the story. I had to explain a lot to my kids (ages 5 and 4) about the story, but also about the illustrations. Why are the polar bears wearing clothes here, but not here? Did Jesus die for animals, too, or just people? Is that Grandpa or Mama? Where are Grandpa's glasses? I wish the whole book had been clearer. It posed more questions than it answered.
Overall Rating: Personally, I'm not thrilled with the book, but my kids like it. That coupled with its positive aspects earn it a rating of "Good."
Age Appeal: 4-8
Publisher Info: Waterbrook Press, 2009; ISBN: 1400074479; Hardback; $10.99
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Special Info: See our reviews of other books by this author.