If I Were a Mouse by Karma Wilson–Book Review

Children love to pretend. In this beautifully illustrated book, a little boy imagines what it would be like to be a mouse, an owl, a squirrel, a chickadee or a cat. Finally, he thanks God, the creator who made him a little boy.

The story is related with bouncy rhymes that youngsters will enjoy. There is very little in the way of religious teaching, but it may help parents begin a discussion about God as the maker of all things.

VERDICT: 4 STARS

For more Christian books for children see these posts:

I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard — Book Review

God Loves the Animals by Jan & Mike Berenstain–Book Review

The Promises of God Storybook Bible by Jennifer Lyell–Book Review

All Will be Well by Lacy Finn Borgo–Book Review

Author Lacy Finn Borgo is an experienced spiritual director, who loves to work with children. Her book, which combines the story of Julian of Norwich with the experiences of a modern-day little girl, also named Julian. Julian’s grandmother is ill, and Julian is worried. Through discussions with her grandmother, and experiencing God’s presence in nature, she learns to trust that “all will be well” even if Mimi does not get better.

This book is an excellent vehicle for talking to elementary aged children about their feelings related to death, illness and unanswered prayer. There is a page at the end with suggestions about guiding your child through experiences of grief and loss, sadness and pain.

The text is accompanied by charming illustrations created by Rebecca Evans.

VERDICT: 5 Stars. Practical and beautiful!

For more books for children see these posts:

I Am -The Names of God for Little Ones by Diane Stortz–Book Review

Just Like You by Marla Stewart Konrad

Let There Be Light by Archbishop Desmond Tutu–Book Review

Nora’s Ark by Eileen Spinelli–Book Review

Since young children think concretely, most will respond well to this creative story about a youngster who decides to create her own ark, in imitation of the biblical story. The illustrations by Nora Hilb are whimsical and appealing.

Nora’s ark story is like Noah’s in some ways — it’s going to rain! There are animals who need to be tended. When the rain stops, there is a rainbow. In other ways, Nora’s ark is different. She has to use different materials to build her ark, and it is smaller. Her animals are smaller, too. She invites cats, spiders, goldfish and toy animals into the ark with her. It doesn’t rain for 40 days — 40 minutes is closer.

This book cannot be used to teach the biblical account of Noah — it assumes the reader is already familiar with that. However, it would be a useful tool to reinforce knowledge the child already has. I suggest reading it along with your children, prompting them to repeat what they remember about Noah, and noticing how Nora’s ark differs. When the book is finished, they may be inspired to build their own ark!

VERDICT: 4 STARS

For more books for children see these posts:

Jonah and the Whale retold by Rachel Elliot

The Promises of God Storybook Bible by Jennifer Lyell–Book Review

David and Goliath–Book Review

The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne–Book Review

I know, it’s not Christmas yet, and it isn’t even December! However, it’s never too soon to make plans to enjoy a meaningful holiday. Too often our Christmas traditions fail to include “the reason for the season.” This book, aimed at children from 4-8, will help families explain why we do some of the things we do at Christmas.

The charming story begins with a family setting out to purchase a Christmas tree. The children are excited, but Dad is disturbed. “Why is Christmas so much about trees, decorations, and gift giving?” he grumbles. At the tree farm they meet an older man who tells them the story of the Christmas tree, and how over the years it was used to symbolize important Christian beliefs. He gives them a gift to open when they decorate their tree.

As the family returns home, they talk about the things they have learned, and are able to incorporate some of them into the decorations of the tree they have chosen. The gift turns out to be a star for the top of the tree, a reminder of how the wise men found Jesus by following the star.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. It may be a bit difficult for preschoolers, but elementary age children will enjoy it. A wonderful way to focus on the true meaning of the Christmas holiday.

For more books for children see these posts:

Thanksgiving Graces by Mark Kimball Moulton — Book Review

Dream Big, My Precious One by Jill Roman Lord–Book Review

I Am -The Names of God for Little Ones by Diane Stortz–Book Review

Far Flutterby by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

Far Flutterby is the story of Cody the Caterpillar and his metamorphosis into a butterfly. Bored with his existence in the town of Better-Than-Brown, he is assured by Beulah Lee Bird that God has a good plan for him. He is meant to fly to the land of Far Flutterby, but he must have faith.

Bouncy, rhyming dialog is accompanied by illustrations, which are not exceptional in my opinion. Cody’s world changes change from monotones to bright and vivid colors as he undergoes his transformation into a butterfly.

The Christian message is a bit ambiguous. God has a plan for us, and struggle will get us there… but what does that mean? All I can see in this story is the implication that things will be more exciting, and we will be happier. Young children aged four to seven, will not be able to grasp the allegory which is pretty slim at best.

VERDICT: 2 STARS. I was not impressed.

For more reviews of books for children see:

This Little Light of Mine by Kathleen Long Bostrom

The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

Gracie’s Garden by Lara Casey — Book Review

The Lord’s Prayer with commentary by Rick Warren–Book Review

Beautiful, bright and detailed illustrations by Richard Jesse Watson accompany the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Scenes from everyday life, using realistic images of children (in some cases friends and relatives of the artist served as models) are appealing and an aid to worshipful meditation.

In his introduction, Rick Warren stresses the responsibility we have as parents, to teach our children to pray. However, they can also teach us.

“And (Jesus) said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

The prayers of children are straightforward, bold and unselfconscious. It is Warren’s hope that the book will become a meaningful tradition for children and parents, as they study and pray together.

At the end, Warren dissects each segment of the prayer, explaining the meaning in simple terms that youngsters can understand.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. Make this one part of a bedtime routine!

For more reviews of books for children see:

The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury–Book Review

Great and Small Easter by B&H Kids Editorial Staff — Book Review

Bedtime Blessings by Marianne Richmond–Book Review

I Wanted to Know All About God by Virginia L. Kroll–Book Review

Young children are visual, literal learners, and this book by Virginia L. Kroll, teaches them how to experience and imagine God through His creation. It evokes the sights, sounds and smells of everyday life and reminds that God can be seen in both nature and the people around us.

The lovely, colorful illustrations by Debra Reid Jenkins depict children from different races and cultures enjoying a variety of outdoor activities. Youngsters (ages 4-8) will easily relate to scenes from the garden, the beach, a pond and a snowy forest.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. Attractive, well-done and age appropriate.

For more books for children see these posts:

Bedtime Blessings by Marianne Richmond–Book Review

Thanksgiving Graces by Mark Kimball Moulton — Book Review

Flashlight Night by Elisabeth Hasselbeck–Book Review

God Loves the Animals by Jan & Mike Berenstain–Book Review

This sturdy board book brings back fond memories for me — my daughters loved the Berenstain Bears books, and we read many of them together. In this story the little bears and their parents take a nature walk. Along the way they observe many animals in their natural habitat, and marvel at how God provided them with a place to live and food to eat.

The illustrations are bright and colorful, and young children will enjoy pointing out their favorite animal. Names of the animals are printed in bold to help beginning readers learn new words.

“God made the wild animals according to their kinds, and all the creatures that moved along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25

In case you are wondering this Berenstain Bears book is part of the Living Lights series published by Zonderkidz. Mike Berenstain, son of Stan and Jan Berenstain is a Christian, although he reports being raised in a secular household.

VERDICT: 5 STARS.

For more books for children see these posts:

Flashlight Night by Elisabeth Hasselbeck–Book Review

The Edge of Everywhen by A.S. Mackey–Book Review

This Little Light of Mine by Kathleen Long Bostrom

Just Like You by Marla Stewart Konrad

This book, beautifully illustrated by Lin Wang, may bring a few tears to your eyes, as it recalls the wonderful experience of holding a baby for the first time. It gently delivers the message that God loves every child who is born. New birth is celebrated in different ways throughout the world, but the love of each mother for her newborn is the same.

Parents of young children (ages 4-8) will enjoy reading this book to their youngster, and reminiscing with them about their own birth day.

The author is a supporter of World Vision (www.worldvision.org) a ministry dedicated toward helping impoverished children throughout the world.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. This would make a nice gift for new parents.

For more Christian books for children see these posts:

Birds of the Air by S.E.M. Ishida

Because I Love You by Max Lucado–Book Review

Dream Big, My Precious One by Jill Roman Lord–Book Review

The Bunny Berry Tales by Dale Anne Fitzgerald–Book Review

The stories about the Bunny Berry family were originally told by the author to her children and grandchildren. It was published and distributed by Covenant Books, a Christian owned and operated business for self-publishing.

The illustrations are colorful, but basic. The author tries to turn every sentence into a rhyme which results in some awkwardness in sentence structure and wording. In my opinion, the stories are too long for this style to work well. The length of the stories may also exceed the attention span of many children in the 4–8-year-old range for whom it is intended. It is definitely a book to read to and with your youngsters.

That being said, the author does try to inject some Christian lessons into the life of her characters, and this could be helpful in starting discussions about prayer, honesty, and kindness to others.

VERDICT: 2 STARS. This is a wonderful family treasure, but not of much value or interest to others.

For more reviews of Christian books for children see:

Bedtime Blessings by Marianne Richmond–Book Review

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

I Wanted to Know All about God by Virginia L. Kroll–Book Review