Monday, March 26, 2007

Our Big, Big God

Our Big, Big God is a simple book...but simple in a great way. The text, by Jeff Atwood, is some of the best rhyming picture book text I've read in some time. The author doesn't try to show off. He simply informs in words that happen to rhyme. The concept is also simple: To explain what God made and just how "big" that makes him.

The author starts by asking who made bugs, "me" (a red headed girl...although later other children are shown with her), birds, rainstorms, canyons, etc., each time answering that "our big God" made them, adding an extra "big" with each page turn. The book ends: "Our big, big, big, big, big, big, big, big God made them all, and he made me (and he loves me, too!)."

For visual interest, artist Renee Graef has created gorgeous, detailed illustrations. The publisher adds a little zest by putting a sun-shaped cutout on the cover, and small pages that "grow" into full sized pages as the book progresses. The paper is also thicker than typical; this is not a board book, but it would be difficult to tear these pages.

What I Like: I love that the author has focused on one, straightforward theme. It can be tempting to pack a lot into a picture book, but Atwood shows great restraint...and in the end, his book is much stronger for it. The illustrations are also delightful - a visual treat for both parent and child.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: The publisher says 3 - 6, but my 20 month old loves this book and has me read it over and over.

Publishing Info: Simon & Schuster, 2007; ISBN: 1416925201; hardback, $8.99

Buy Now at Amazon for $8.99.

Special Info: Atwood wrote this book for his daughter, who has trouble understanding abstract things due to complications from bacterial meningitis. To read about Atwood and his daughter, check out this article. You can also visit the author's website or peek at the illustrator's online portfolio.

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