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Culture Children's Books
Give Thanks (Sit for a Bit)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!” That’s the focus verse of this sweet picture book that is part of a new series designed to help children memorize Scripture. With bold text and cheerful illustrations, the book both teaches and entertains. O’Brien uses poetic repetition to help children meditate on each word of the verse and make simple applications. At first reading, several mostly empty pages may seem out of place, but their purpose becomes clear as the book progresses. Diverse skin tones give the book wider appeal. (Ages 3-6)
The Knight’s Map
In this allegorical tale by pastor-theologian Sproul, a knight embarks on a journey to find the Pearl of Great Price. Sir Charles meets characters like Mr. Skeptic and Sir Liberal who would turn him off the good path. But just as Christians must follow the Bible, Sir Charles must follow instructions from the Great King to find true wealth. Richard Lawnes’ illustrations lack some warmth, and the text rambles at times. Yet the book’s deep truths and Sproul’s mastery of allegory make this a useful resource for Christian parents seeking to guide their children in the way of the true King. (Ages 6-12)
The Storm that Stopped
When the “biggest, loudest, scariest, most GINORMOUS storm you could imagine” comes upon the boat carrying Jesus and His disciples, everyone panics—except the sleeping Jesus. In one or two playful sentences per page, this picture book relates how Christ calmed the storm, focusing on what the miracle tells us about Jesus—i.e., that He is God. Catalina Echeverri’s modern illustrations display plenty of action and movement, and the colorful palette will pull in reluctant readers. Overall an excellent offering, though references to a “sink-o-meter” and “wind-o-meter” may need to be explained to young children. (Ages 4-8)
I Believe in Jesus: Leading Your Child to Christ
Originally published in the 1990s, this new edition with updated illustrations summarizes basic truths from the Bible—from creation to Christ’s resurrection—using simple language that a preschooler can understand. Its main purpose is evangelistic, offering children an opportunity to trust in Christ and find personal salvation. Bible verses and further reading suggestions accompany each page. This new version has watercolor illustrations by Dominique Merten. Some may prefer the illustrations in previous editions, which are still available from used-book sites. (Ages 1-5)
Parents with kids in the potty-training years may appreciate Sally Lloyd-Jones’ new book, Skip to the Loo, My Darling! A Potty Book (Candlewick, 2016). At first, bunny seems alone in his need to use the “loo” (the British word for toilet), but soon he’s joined by a menagerie of friends—from a dodo bird to an elephant in a tutu. Rhyming text cleverly builds expectation until the characters all finally arrive at a joyful (but respectful) poo party.
Christian author Jones’ polite sensibilities shine through here, making a difficult subject appealing for parents and children. Illustrator Anita Jeram (Guess How Much I Love You) adds further value by drawing characters modestly and infusing them with subtle humor. Parents won’t find specifics or how-tos about toilet training, but the book might make potty time more enticing for little ones. You might not like the idea of bunnies and elephants in your bathroom, but it’s likely your toddler will. —E.W.