Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus Loves Me is often one of the first songs Christian children learn. Whether they are taught the simple tune by their parents or in Sunday school, this simple song has been a classic since the tune was written in 1862. Illustrator Tim Warnes has used acrylic, water-soluble crayons, and ink, to achieve a soft watercolour-like effect. The whimsical illustrations promote a strong sense of togetherness as the bear family (Father, Mother and Little Bear) engage in a variety of activities together. The family’s day is spent reading the Bible, gardening, fishing, decorating Easter eggs, baking and having a marshmallow roast before bed. There are many verses and variations of lyrics for this hymn; the three verses used in the book can be found on Cyberhymnal.

What I Like: I enjoy books based on songs so that I can sing them to my children as we turn the pages. The hymn is a classic one I want my children to learn, and this is an excellent method to teach it to them. The illustrations are soft, gentle and filled with light. My 2 year old adores the book and it is currently her favourite. She brings it to me throughout the day to sing her the words of the song. The padded boardbook format is wonderful, with rounded edges for safety.

What I Dislike: There is a disconnect between the words of the hymn and the illustrations. It almost seems as though the author had a series of adorable and beautifully executed paintings of bears that needed some accompanying text. There is not much correlation between the illustrations and the lyrics. My 5 year old daughter pointed this out, and she was disappointed – the illustrations looked like a story to her, and she was surprised to find that the text did not match. The page edges are also gilded – a feature often found on Bibles – I felt this was somewhat inappropriate considering the lighthearted content of this title.

Overall Rating: Good

Age Appeal: Infant - 5

Publisher Info: Little Simon Inspirations, 2008; ISBN: 1416953671; Padded Boardbook; $7.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $5.99!

Special Info: Also available as a hardcover (published by Howard Books in 2006) that includes printed music with chords and all three verses of the song at Christianbook.com for $9.99 and at Amazon.com for $11.01. Our family was unfamiliar with two of the verses, as our hymnal includes different lyrics. The verses used may or may not be familiar to your family. Five pages include Easter egg related activities.

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