Saturday, February 17, 2007

You Are Special

One of my very favorite children’s books is You Are Special by award-winning author, Max Lucado. This story originally appeared in a chapter of Tell Me the Secrets, also by Lucado, but is fully fleshed out here. This book introduces the Wemmicks, the small wooden people created by Eli, the wood carver. All day long the Wemmicks go around putting gold stars or grey dots on each other. They give stars to the Wemmicks who are good, beautiful and talented. Those who are scratched and imperfect, clumsy or slow receive dots. They aren’t good Wemmicks. One of the Wemmicks who always receives dots is named Punchinello.

One day he meets a Wemmick who doesn’t have any dots or any stars. Her name is Lucia. When Punchinello asks her why the marks don’t stick to her, she answers: “It’s easy! Everyday I go see Eli.” Punchinello doesn’t want the marks to stick to him either, so he makes a visit to the woodcarver. There he learns it doesn’t matter what the other Wemmicks think; it only matters what his maker thinks. Punchinello is special because Eli made him. Eli invites Punchinello to come visit him everyday. He says the more he visits with him, the less the marks will stick. As Punchinello dares to believe him, one of his dots falls to the ground.

Illustrated by Sergio Martinez, this book is simply beautiful. The illustrations are sketchy, but enchanting. Their detail fully reinforces the heartfelt sentiments of the story.

What I Like: Everything! The story is fantastic and so reassuring for children and adults alike. The allegorical value is intrinsic. The illustrations are fantastic, truly pulling the reader into the story. My kids love these books and so do I.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent!

Age Appeal: 3 and up

Publisher Info: Crossway Books, 1997; ISBN: 0891079319; Hardback (see below for boardbook information); $15.99

Buy it Now on Amazon for
$10.87 (Hardback) or $6.99 (Boardbook)

Additional Info: This story is available in three versions: hardback, boardbook and DVD. The hardback is described here. The boardbook contains the same illustrations and the same story, though slightly condensed and shorter. You can also get
You Are Special on DVD as a 20-minute computer animated video. Several bonus features are included on the DVD. I have not seen the video, but must say from the cover, I like the original artwork by Sergio Martinez better.

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