Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Why All of God's Children Eat Cereal

Many kids love cereal. Dr. Phillip J. Finley's book Why All of God's Children Eat Cereal is based on that very idea. Over the course of 28 pages, Finley celebrates the world-wide appeal of this food.

Though not written in poetic form, many of the lines do, in fact, rhyme. Here is a sample (in paragraph form, as was presented in the book):
"Whether your eyes are blue, black, hazel, or brown, I know you have eaten a bowl of cereal in a container whether square, rectangle, or round. Some eat it slow, some eat fast. Some carry it in a backpack as a snack, 'cause it will last. It will last in a bag, it will last in a container, or on the cover of a box with the face of a dancer, or a driver, or some famous entertainer."

The amount of text per page varies, as does the font size. Most pages contain four lines of text, but some have seventeen.  Illustrations cover a two-page spread with bright, vibrant color and whimsical cartoon characters from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

What I Like: The illustrations in this book were simple, but absolutely adorable. Black did an excellent job of making his characters seem joyful, playful, and full of energy.

What I Dislike: This book is more about the glory of cereal than the glory of God. Several pages are devoted to just plain cereal: who eats it, how they eat it, how they pour it out, how many teeth the cereal eaters possess, how cereal is stored, names of specific people from specific countries who have eaten cereal... you get the idea.

The rhyming but not-quite-a-poem format makes for very awkward wording as well. The cadence of the text-- whether it be prose or poetry-- doesn't flow. This makes it difficult to read out loud, and disjointed when read silently.

Some Scriptural quotes are thrown into the mix, but they spill right into the regular non-poem rhyming text, making it confusing to the reader. For example, on one page, the author states, "Thus says the Lord, the earth is mine and the fullness thereof." But then it goes on to list all the other things God gives us... including a backpack... still using the "I gave, I made" format. It then ends by stating, "Oh how I love cereal with milk, which is nourishment for my soul." So... this, coming off "thus says the Lord", makes it sound like God himself is up in the heavens enjoying a big bowl of Froot Loops.

After focusing so much on cereal, perhaps the most confusing thing to me was the line at the end of the book that read, "Take a moment to thank God by closing your eyes, and folding your hands, because now you understand, that's God's perfect plan." I had to think.... Wait... what?

Overall Rating: Poor. As much as I want to like this book because of the precious illustrations and because I am sure the author has an earnest heart, I just can't recommend it.

Age Appeal: The publisher suggest ages 1-10. However, I recommend children ages 4-8 years.

Publisher Info: Finley Publishing, 2014; ISBN:  978-0996033626; Hardcover or Kindle, 28 pgs., $12.99

This book is not available at Christianbook.com.
Buy the hardcover at Amazon.com for $11.69 or the kindle version for $3.99.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this review. It made me laugh. I wish it were recommended, because I love cereal!