Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Children's Book Review: God Gave Us So Much

Those of you who have read my blog for a long time know that I like to review books. It used to be the case that I primarily reviewed infertility and adoption books.

I recently joined a program called Blogging for Books, and I am using the opportunity to grow Matthew's library. I received our first book, "God Gave Us So Much." I am posting the review here, and will occasionally post reviews in the future, as part of my participation in the program.  Thanks for reading!


"God Gave Us So Much" is a collection of 3 separate books: "God Gave Us the Earth," "God Gave Us Love," and "God Gave us Heaven." In each book, an adult family member of Little Cub attempts to explain the origin and purpose of of the respective subject matters.

I considered reviewing all 3 books separately, but my compliments and criticisms remain the same for all 3 so I will address them as a unit.

On the positive side, the illustrations are darling. They are age-appropriate, artistically beautiful, and engaging for little eyes.

I also applaud the author for tackling these subjects for children. They are subjects that are easy to either ignore or explain away with platitudes when dealing with children. This author does not fall into either of these traps, which I appreciate. Her dialogues on the subjects are detailed and somewhat systematic.

There are lots of good "life lessons" in the book. The author coaches children to care for God's creation, to demonstrate love to those around us, and to look forward with eager anticipation to our reunion in heaven with God. The take-away points are a big strength of these books.

My primary criticism is that the books are a bit tedious in length. It is cute that Little Cub asks questions and follows a logical train of thought on a particular subject, but at some point, the reader's attention is lost due to length. Little Cub's question simply become excessive in number. The problem is that the length is too long for young children (who are the target audience), but older children would be bored by the illustrations and the folksy tone.

The same problem with maintaining age appropriateness exists in the way she answers questions. Sometimes the answers are far too old for the target audience, such as "God created our world and everything in it because it's in his nature to create." Elementary children do not understand a person's "nature."

On the other hand, some of her answers are oversimplified. In the heaven book, she uses the familiar analogy of Jesus as a bridge to describe salvation, but she doesn't really explain that "the bridge" is necessary and that there are consequences for not choosing to cross "the bridge." In a book so clearly designed to impart theology to children, I think this is a huge oversight.

There are other more minor theological sticking points, such as her suggestion that we can make God mad at us or her musing that we will take naps in Heaven, but I think these are simply victims of her attempts to oversimplify things for children, rather than actual doctrinal assertions.

Overall, I don't object to this book being in my son's library. I will read it to him, but I will do so only when I accompany the reading with important clarifying conversation. I really love the author's other book, "God Gave Us You" so in this case I was primarily disappointed because I think the potential was so much greater than what was actually realized.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for posting this! I am currently waiting on my first book to review! What an awesome idea to build our kiddo's library! Thank you so much for sharing it!

    I've also started a support circle page over on my blog. I would like to link up to you. Would this be okay? If so, just shoot me a quick email to