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Culture Notable Books

Notable Books

Notable books

Four books for and about children reviewed by Susan Olasky

The charming Rosie Flo soft-cover coloring books are filled with dresses and costumes according to a theme. In Rosie Flo's Holiday the theme is travel and the dresses come from all over the world: One dress resembles Big Ben, another an igloo. Rosie Flo's Music has dresses that look like instruments. The cover of each coloring book says, "Just add heads, legs and arms." That's because the figures are drawn without those features, so the budding artist can both color in the imaginative clothes and give them the face and body she wants. These are perfect coloring books for the older child who still loves to color but wants a bit of a challenge.

Free Range Kids

Humorist and journalist Skenazy became famous overnight when she wrote a column in the New York Sun about letting her 9-year-old son Izzy ride home from Bloomingdale's alone on the subway. Although she provided him with $20, a subway map, and some quarters for a phone call, readers were appalled. So were the parenting experts, and thus was born a free range movement. She aims to dispel the myths that have created fearful and overprotective parents who have robbed their kids of some of the joys of childhood. Parents might not agree with everything she writes, but she kick-starts an important reevaluation.

Do You Want a Friend?

The Friend in this picture book is Jesus. On pages exuberantly illustrated with a multi-racial cast of children and parents, Piper presents Jesus as the friend who loves you, comforts you, helps you be strong, wants to be with you, helps you know God, prays for you, makes you happy, forgives you, helps you do good, and saves you from danger. Bible verses teaching each truth accompany the text, which concludes with a simple presentation of the gospel: "Jesus is the only friend who is everything we need. There is no friend like Jesus." The book includes the words and music to the hymn "One There Is, Above All Others."

God Found Us You

This wonderful picture book with delightful illustrations has Little Fox snuggling up to Mama Fox and asking her to retell the store about the "day I came home." From that simple beginning, Mama Fox tells her adoptee that she dreamed of how he'd look and smell, prayed and waited for his appearing, and was lonely before he came. Little Fox asks why he couldn't stay with "the mother who had me," and Mama Fox says, "She must have thought it was best for you. . . . She must have been as beautiful as you are handsome." Bergren clearly portrays God as the orchestrator of families and the one who answers prayer.


D.G. Myers teaches literature at Texas A&M and keeps A Commonplace Blog ( in which he writes mainly about books. He recently wrote about the Sanford scandal, first quoting Jenny Sanford's statement: "I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal." Myers said that statement exposed "the gulf between her and her husband, who believes instead in the Stendhalian passion that sweeps a man away against his interests. . . . [H]e lives by the same literary ideology of adultery that rivets pretty much the entire Western world."

Myers writes, "All the literary world loves a lover, especially if passion overwhelms his commitments and will. . . . The literary ideology of the Western world is that the adulterer is subjected to erotic passion, as if he were the unwilling victim of a power outside his control." Myers goes on to say, "The Jews have a word for this. The word is idolatry."