When the opportunity came for me to review a children’s book I was excited! Being a father of three (soon four) has turned me into a bit of an expert. (To an extent)
The book arrived at my house while I was at work, and since my kids love getting mail they were excited for me to open it as soon as I walked through the door. The moment I pulled the book from the mailer, my kids were immediately drawn to the colorful cover. “Woah! What book is that?” My kids are used to books arriving in the mail, but usually they’re “church books”, but today this was a book for us to read together. When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner and illustrated by David Catrow.
Evening came. Baths. Snack. Teeth brushed. Now it was time for the story.
The most glaringly positive thing about this book is the color. I mean, this guy left no color unused. The illustrations are absolutely rich and beautiful. For me, this is definitely the highlight of the book. Not that the writing is poor, because it’s not. The book is written in a wonderful poetic rhyme, which makes for a fun read. However, the issue I had with my kids is that they weren’t understanding how the words connected with the pictures. The book is listed as being for children ages 3 to 8, but I would lean more toward the older side.
Throughout the book, the reader is reminded again and again how special they are to God. How God made them. How God thinks about them. How God loves them. All while the illustrations unfold a story of a girl who is creatively using the gifts God gave her to explore and use her imagination within the world around her. Each reminder and promise about God is creatively paired with an illustration that shows the main character implementing a portion of that trait into her imaginative play. She’s coloring and creating a fantastical world of color and beauty, thereby expressing her God-given talents and abilities.
Overall, this is a creative book that vividly explains the ever abundant love of God, for kids. Like I mentioned, wonderful poetic writing combined with beautiful illustrations. The main negative being that my children struggled to connect the words with the pictures; with the over-arching theme being a bit over the head of a typical child. I even had trouble understanding how the poem matched what was being illustrated on the last few pages.
Theological note: I was disappointed theologically in this book. The first 5 or 6 pages were on target and encouraging for a child. However, as the book continues I feel like the rhyming aspect sacrificed the overall quality of the original message. The book began geared towards God’s love and creation of the child, turning into the child’s amazing qualities impressing God. “You being you is God’s dream coming true.” Yet, the writer never implies that the girl loves God in return, believes, has faith, recognizes God’s existence, or any other such things. Finally, when the writer speaks of what God expects from the girl, all is listed is that she is to live by three words: “love one another”. The author clearly missed loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. (The first part of the two-part greatest commandment) Also, in the book God was never identified beyond just “God”, with which I always have trouble.
More info on the book can be found HERE
More into on the author can be found HERE
Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.