Monday, November 12, 2018

Good News for Little Hearts

The faculty of CCEF have teamed up with New Growth Press to produce a series of children’s books which deal with the heart issues that affect us all: anger, pride and fear. Aimed at children aged 5-10, each is edited by David Powlison or Edward Welch, both authors of excellent books for adults. The story creation for each is attributed to Jocelyn Flenders as her first published work for children.

All three books are beautifully illustrated by Joe Hox, who brings animals engagingly to life in situations we all can understand. Children will love to see the captivating touches that Hox has woven in: families live in houses with buttons and stamps for wall hangings, rulers for skirting boards, tables with clothes pegs for legs, and mini pot plants or corks for chairs.

In Buster’s Ears Trip Him Up (When you fail), Buster is super excited about camp and the big running race. Last year he won and he’s keeps telling everyone he will be the fastest again this year. As the family get ready for camp, Mama bunny leads the family in prayer, asking that all the family will come to know God better in the week ahead. On race day, to his great embarrassment, Buster’s ears cover his eyes and he falls flat on his face (literally discovering how pride comes before a fall!). Big sister Ivy takes him to one side and tells him a story about her own failure in a school project, showing that even when we fail, God’s love never fails. She explains pride got in her way, just like it did with Buster, and that sometimes we have to fail before we can understand how much we need God’s help.
“Before you did anything right, God loved you. God doesn’t love you because you win a race. He loves you because you belong to him.”
They pray together before they go back to camp and Buster learns to laugh at his failure.

In Zoe’s Hiding Place (When you are anxious), little Zoe mouse always has her head in a book failing to hear what is going on around her. Upon hearing of a school excursion where she got lost last time, Zoe is filled with fear and worry. Mama brings these words of wisdom: “Worry wants you to believe that you are all alone and God isn’t with you protect you. But that’s not true. Jesus is with you. He cares for you.” She advises Zoe to turn each fear into a prayer. When Zoe ends up getting lost again on the excursion, she remembers Mama’s words, pulls out a note from Papa which says “The Lord is near” and prays for help know what to do.

In Jax’s Tail Twitches (When you are angry), it’s acorn gathering day for the squirrel families. Jax gets angry at his brother for always being first, Papa gets angry at the neighbours who gather their acorns, and Mama gets angry when the dinner burns. The whole family makes mistakes in this one, as Papa says:
"'When I am angry, I need God to help me. I need Jesus to forgive me and show me where I am wrong too. The Great Book says that God is always there to help in times of trouble. Let’s ask God to help us now." And right then and there, the whole Squirrel family bowed their heads, folded their paws and asked God to forgive and help them.'

They go on to apologise to each other, and also to their neighbours for how they behaved.

Each book contains notes and guidance to help parents as they teach children about managing fear, failure and anger, which many parents will appreciate and hopefully realise to apply to themselves as well. There are also tear out bible verses for kids to keep in their pocket to remember God’s truths (families may have to figure out how to share these as well!)

One great feature of these books is the strong parental figures. They guide their children in the truth, acknowledge their own faults and listen well (Zoe’s mama “had good listening ears”). They bring their children back to God’s word as they guide and instruct, and are corrected by it themselves.

This is an excellent new series for children helping them to see that anger, fear and failure are things we all struggle with, yet we can trust God for his help as we do so, by his grace.

I received an e-copy of these books from New Growth Press in exchange for an honest review.

No comments: