Thursday, November 8, 2018

Book Review: Good News for Little Hearts

I remember the first time the fine pastors at Living Faith Church introduced me to the world of biblical counseling. I was hooked! I longed for someone to make these ideas more accessible to a wider audience, especially my children. I've never been particularly good at writing fiction, but I knew that there was a gem of an idea there. Finally, a like minded sister has watered that idea seed and allowed it to grow and blossom.

At present, there are three volumes in the "Good News for  Little Hearts" series which seeks to help kids and parents face anxiety, failure, and anger in a God-honoring way. While these animal stories don't quite have the enduring charm of classics such as the Beatrix Potter books, Little Bear, or Frog and Toad and some conversations between characters seemed to come off a little unnatural (and maybe even a little "preachy") at times, my little ones enjoyed them nonetheless. The volumes are sturdy and full of creative, vibrantly colored illustrations. Each book concludes with Tips for further helping your child and four "Back Pocket Bible Verses" in the New Living Translation that you can cut out and give to your child.

Zoe's Hiding Place: When You Are Anxious begins in a mouse house and contains some of my favorite illustrations. The mouse house contains all kinds of treasures lending itself well to an "I Spy" game. Unfortunately, content-wise, it was my least favorite. It reminded me of the type of moralistic Christian books with which I grew up. While Jesus was mentioned by name, the Gospel wasn't clearly proclaimed. This book makes it seem as if God is with everyone for good all of the time and doesn't make any distinction between those who are His people and those who are not. However, that being said, the book does lend itself well to a Gospel presentation. You'll just want to continue the story by explaining to your kids that the reason why a holy God never leaves or forsakes His children in spite of their sin is because Jesus was forsaken in place of all who would believe and bore the penalty for their sins when He died on the cross and that Jesus didn't remain forsaken but was raised from the dead on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God the Father making intercession for us and that He sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within all who trust in Him. All in all, Zoe's Hiding Place is an okay title but not my favorite of the bundle.

Buster's Ears Trip Him Up: When You Fail has the clearest Gospel message of the three books, and both it and Jax's Tail Twitches: When You Are Angry mention the need for Jesus' forgiveness. I love that these books clearly point our kids to Christ! As far as articulating biblical counseling material, Jax's Tail Twitches seems to have the most content as it models the proper way to handle conflict: going to God in prayer, taking the log out of one's own eye first, asking forgiveness, and being reconciled. Parents will want to make sure to avail themselves of the parent tips at the end for the clearest Gospel presentation in this work. Buster's Ears Trip Him Up came in close but, in addition to confessing sin to God, parents will likely want to  follow the example and parent tips in Jax's Tail Twitches and encourage kids to apologize and reconcile with those who have been hurt by their prideful boasting.

All in all, these titles are useful picture books that will serve adults as they seek to minister to children in their lives and help them to better image and glorify their Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Many thanks to New Growth Press for sending me complimentary copies! I was not obligated to write a positive review. These words are my honest opinion!

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