Friday, April 17, 2009

100 Ways to Know God Loves Me

Stephen Elkins is well known for his Christian picture books - often accompanied by CDs of his music - and his 100 Ways to Know God Loves Me is a welcomed addition with a unique twist.

Designed as a devotional for young children, each two page spread in this book focuses on, as the title suggests, a way we can know God loves us. For example, one devotional is titled "I know God loves me because He blessed me with a family." There is a colorful full page illustration showing a biblical-era husband and wife with two babies. On the opposite side of the page, we learn about how God made Adam first, but blessed him with a wife and children. We learn that Psalm 68:6 says God gave us families so we won't be lonely. On that same page, there is a color illustration of a modern-day husband, wife, and baby. On an accompanying CD, the song "My Family Matters" then fits in nicely.

Each devotional follows this pattern of a large illustration showing a scene from biblical times, a smaller illustration showing something similar during modern times, a Bible quote, and a quick devotional (usually two paragraphs long), followed by a note about an appropriate song to listen to on one of the two the accompanying CDs. Topics for the devotionals include "I know God loves me because:" "He answers my prayers," "He instructs me," "He made all the animals," "He picks me up when I fall," "He saves my soul," "He sends rain," "nothing will separate me from His love," and more.

What I Like: The concept for this book is excellent. Every person needs a good understanding of how vast God's love is. I appreciate that Elkins offers a Bible quote for each devotional, as well as bright, colorful illustrations. The devotionals themselves are short and sweet, making them perfect for reluctant listeners and very young children. The accompanying CDs are a great idea, too.

What I Dislike: Sometimes the illustrations are awfully static; there's not much action in them. Since this book is clearly designed for very young children (hence the brevity of each devotional), interesting illustrations are vital. The CDs' music is good, but the songs are sung by children and I've found many young kids don't find this appealing. The words aren't always easy to understand and there is a certain lack of emotion found in the young voices.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 8, but this book will also appeal to toddlers and possibly even infants.

Publishing Info: Thomas Nelson, 2008; ISBN: 1400311578; hard back, $19.99

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Special Info: To read reviews of other books by this author, please click here.

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