Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jacob's New Heart

Jacob’s New Heart, written by Barbara Sims, puts the transforming power of God’s word into a visual, kid-friendly story about an ugly caterpillar changing into a beautiful butterfly.

The story begins right at Jacob’s mountainside birth. He beholds a beautiful world and then is greeted by his pretty butterfly mother. In the midst of such loveliness, Jacob is shamed by his own drabness. His mother encourages him, telling him he can be transformed from the inside out when he gets to know God.

When Jacob asks how he can do that, she replies, “If you want to get to know Him, you’ll need to ask him to come into your heart.”

After Jacob does so, he hungers. Mom tells him that God’s word will make his heart grow. Jacob eats leaves that are full of Scripture verses, such as Psalm 119:103- “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”

Once Jacob is full of God’s word, Mom guides him to make a chrysalis and rest, stating, “Now that God’s word is inside you, it will change you.” Sure enough, after some time passes, Jacob emerges a beautiful butterfly too.

Following the story, the book includes enrichment activities. (Although this section is labeled as “Suggestions For a Bible Memory Chart”, numbers 9 and 10 are not part of the memory chart directions.) Black and white drawings are included to be used as templates for creating the memory chart.

Sheila Lenz Prusacki created the watercolor-and-pen illustrations for this book. (The ugly caterpillar is actually very cute!) Most pictures are dominated by bright green and pale blue colors. Action is limited; many illustrations simply show the mother butterfly talking to the caterpillar. Several illustrations are for a two-page spread, but there are several self-contained pages as well. Although it varies, in general there is a large portion of medium-sized text on each page.

What I Like: I think the idea of putting Scripture on a leaf to show how it “feeds” us is very clever, and that once we have that inside us, it changes us. I also like how the author took advantage of her teaching background to provide some ideas for extending the story.

What I Dislike: All the verses on the leaves were related to, in effect, hiding God’s word in your heart. While that’s a GOOD thing, the message was all the same. I would have liked some verses that targeted other areas of getting to know God, such as God’s great love for people, the fruit of the spirit… or what it means to be born again.

Also, I felt like the story very quickly brushed over the idea of salvation. While this does provide a springboard for an adult reader to talk about exactly what it means to ask Jesus into our hearts, it might leave those unfamiliar with Scripture asking questions.

Finally, the paperback is expensive. If you buy this book, consider the more affordable e-book.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: None listed-- maybe Kindergarten/1st grade crowd.

Publisher Info: Westbow Press, 2014; ISBN: 978-1490847290; Paperback, e-book, Kindle, 38 pgs., $16.95.

Buy the paperback Now at for $16.95 or the e-book for $3.99
OR Buy it at for $15.95 or the Kindle Version for $4.99.

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