Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ronnie Wilson's Gift

Ronnie Wilson’s Gift, written by Francis Chan, the best-selling author of Crazy Love, is a touching story of a young boy’s wish to give a special gift to God.

When Ronnie Wilson learns the reason Jesus came to earth, he is amazed. He thinks God’s gift is so amazing he wants to give God an amazing gift in return.

But what can he give? His teddy bear is old and worn out, and he has only six dollars and forty-seven cents in his piggy bank. But, he has something truly special, something he loves more than anything else - his baseball glove, signed by his uncle, a player in the big leagues. He wants to give it to God.

He tries to mail it to Heaven. He can’t do that, but on the way home from the post office, he meets a man who is hungry. So, he gives the man some of the money he was going to use for postage so the man can buy a hot dog. Later, when he’s jumping on the trampoline in his backyard, trying to jump high enough to get to Heaven, he sees that his neighbor, Jesse, is playing by himself. So, he invites Jesse over to jump on the trampoline with him. And, the next day, when a little girl loses her balloon at the carnival, Ronnie gives her the balloon he just bought for himself, even though he was going to tie his baseball glove to it to see if it could float to heaven.

Ronnie is discouraged that he hasn’t found a way to get his ball glove to Heaven. But, in a dream, God tells him that when he fed the hungry man, played with the lonely boy, and gave his balloon to the little girl, he was not only helping them, he was helping God. Ronnie understands that he doesn’t have to send his ball glove to Heaven to give to it to God; he can give it to someone else and that, in turn, helps God. So, the next day he gives it to his friend Keith, who has always wanted to play on a real team but never had a glove. Ronnie knew his gift would be special that way.

The author includes this verse from Matthew 25:40 at the end of the story: “And the kind will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” The author also includes a letter parents at the end of the book explaining the importance of the parents’ responsibility to teach their children about God.

The illustrations by Jim Madsen are colorful and expressive and kid-friendly.

What I Like: Everything.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: 5-9.

Publisher Info: David C. Cook, 2011; ISBN: 9780781404778; Hardcover, $12.99.

Special Info: Read our reviews of other books by Francis Chan. Read our reviews of other books illustrated by Jim Madsen. Visit the author’s website.

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