Monday, March 2, 2009

God is With Me Through the Day

Using beautiful and fun nature photographs, Julie Cantrell's God is With Me Through the Day is a simple and satisfying picture book.

The text of this volume walks children through a typical day: The child wakes up, stretches, grabs a kiss from mama, and runs outside. Then:

"I start to feel alone. I try to be brave. But sometimes I cry. I feel very small in the great big world."

Then the child remembers God is always with us - just as he was with David when he fought lions, just as he was with Jonah in the big fish. So the child shouts "God loves me!" and "I am safe!" And things don't seem so scary any more. We are never alone.

The book ends by quoting Psalm 56:3 ("When I am afraid, I will trust in you.") This is a great message, but it's the addition of the illustrations that makes this book really special. Throughout are photographs of animals, in fitting "poses" to go with the text. For example, we see a baby monkey clinging to his mother, a raccoon who is looking heavenward, and a penguin mother "kissing" her child.

What I Like: The author's approach to fear is suitable for nearly all children; it focuses on the universal feeling of being alone and afraid. Then the author reminds children they are in God's loving hands and that shouting to the world that they are safe can actually help.

What I Dislike: I strongly wish the author mentioned prayer as a remedy for fear. Also, she writes "God kept Jonah safe inside the whale," when in fact the Bible calls the creature a "great fish," not a whale.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, but given the simple text and gorgeous photographs, many toddlers will love this book, too.

Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2009; ISBN: 0310715628; hardback; $9.99

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