Friday, June 10, 2011

This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano

Recommendation: Not Recommended

Children, like all of us, need to be taught how to pray and we are given Biblical examples and models to help us grow in this spiritual discipline. I felt like this book sometimes fell short of providing an excellent model for prayer. Just because our children are young, does not mean they cannot pray meaningful prayers and learn how to talk with and build a relationship with God the Father.

Positives: Part of the prayer asks for wisdom to follow the path of obedience, also a request for when there is a feeling of loneliness to be reminded that God is near.  Thankfulness is also addressed in the prayer.

Negatives: Overall the prayer was very self-centered. It does not reflect on the character of God. When the child expresses thankfulness, it is mostly for material, earthly things, with a gratefulness for God's love tacked on the end. When the child is fearful he asks for bravery to face his fears, not to trust in an all-powerful God.

Talking Points: Take your child to Matthew 6:5-15 and talk about how Jesus instructed us to pray. Help your child see that this is a model, an example that we are to use, not words that we are to repeat. Prayer is our way to communicate with our heavenly Father and we are to express our hearts to Him. Part of that is to express our adoration and worship of a good, loving, all-powerful, merciful and just God. We are to be thankful for who He is, not just for what He gives us on earth. The Psalms are also an excellent source of ideas for prayers. Psalm 56 talks about how we are to respond to fear. Psalm 86 contains a prayer to be taught the ways of God. HERE and HERE are some additional resources to help you.

Age Level: 2-5 years of age

I received this book for free fromWaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, June 6, 2011

May Magic by Ron Roy

Recommendation: Recommended

Brian Pinto is convinced that raising ducks will make him rich, just one problem, his mom is dead set against the idea. So, he decides that a great Mother's Day present would be to take her to the hypnotist show that has come to town, to trick her into loving ducks. Everything goes great until their mother continues to act strangely (and duck-like) even days after the show. What are they going to do? And who's playing a trick on who?

Positives: A funny and light-hearted story, you never know what those impetuous twins are going to do next.

Negatives: They do talk about hypnotism in the book and it seems at first like Mrs. Pinto is herself hypnotized, although it turns out to be a joke on the boys.

Talking Points: Your child may have questions about what hypnotism is and what the Bible may say about it. I would direct them to Gal. 5:22-23 which speaks of one of the fruit of the Spirit being self-control. When you are hypnotized, you are not in control of your own body or mind. Eph. 5:18 also speaks to this indirectly when it tells us to be "filled with the Spirit." As believers we are to yield to and be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Age Level: 4-8 years old (Reading Level 2.0)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

April Adventures by Ron Roy

Recommendation: Recommended

The 4th book in the Calendar Mysteries Series is another short story that your young child will enjoy. These are also a great introduction to chapter books for your emerging readers. Another thing we discovered recently - they offer these books on CD at our local library and even though we've read them all, my 5 year old loves to listen to them.

In this story the kids are sent on an egg hunt by their older siblings. After searching everywhere it becomes evident that some of the eggs are missing! The four young sleuths must solve this tricky case to claim their prize.

Positives: I love these stories as they remind me more of my childhood than what my  kids experience now. These young kids wander around town following clues all by themselves. The people in town all know them and help them out. They reflect a simple life that was filled with family and friends, not activities and programs.

Negatives: None

Talking Points: There may not be a lot of spiritual conversations to be had from this story, but I would just sit back and enjoy spending time with your child as they read or are read to. You could spend a few minutes reflecting on the marvels of creation and the Creator.

Age Level: 4-8 year olds (Reading Level 1.8)