Friday, March 6, 2009

God is With Me Through the Night

God is With Me Through the Night by Julie Cantrell is a companion book to God is With Me Through the Day. In fact, it's an extremely similar book, except it discusses nighttime fears instead of daytime fears.

The book outlines a child's typical evening: he plays with his family, snuggles with his parents, and gets tucked into bed with a kiss from mama. But then, in the dark of his bedroom, he begins to feel frightened. He hears "weird noises" and sees "strange shadows." But "Mama tells me God is with me, even in the dark." God kept Daniel safe from the lions, and he keeps children safe, too.

"I roar like a tiger, 'I am safe!' And then all the scary thoughts go away. I fall asleep and find my happy dreams."

In God's hands, the child feels brave, and loved, and safe. The book ends by quoting Isaiah 41:10 ("Do not fear, for I am with you.")

Throughout, the book is illustrated by nature photographs that are beautiful and cute. For example, when bravery is mentioned, we see a bear cub standing on its hind legs and stretching its paws. When happiness is mentioned, we see an ostrich that looks like its smiling. When stretching after a good night's sleep is mentioned, we see a giraffe stretching its hind legs. The photos are fascinating for young kids.

What I Like: One of the problems with picture books about fear is that it's difficult to make them universal enough they don't put ideas about previously unknown fears into a child's head. In this case, if your child doesn't already imagine scary shadows and sounds in the dark, this is not a book you want to read them. On the other hand, if your child is afraid of the dark, this is a great title to have in your home library. Cantrell does a nice job of taking children step by step through the process of thinking themselves out of a fear of the dark.

What I Dislike: I strongly wish the author mentioned prayer as a remedy for fear.

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: 0310715636; hardback; $9.99

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