Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Review: The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2, by Carla Barnhill, uses the (cute!) Little Blessings characters (Kaitlyn, Zoe, Parker, and Jack) to help children through easy-to-understand devotions. Each reading pairs a Little Blessings illustration with a short Bible verse and devotional thought that gets you and your child talking about the simple truths of Scripture. A fun, rhyming prayer or application completes each devotional. This book is a great way to get young children interacting with Scripture daily – to learn about God’s wonderful promises and timeless truths. Put out by Tyndale House Publishers, it was previously published as Blessings Every Day.

The back cover of the book states that the idea is “do-able, daily devotions” for preschoolers:
  • Do-able: You and your child can just pick up the book and start on today’s date.
  • Daily: Kids can learn about God and what’s really important, a little bit each day.
  • Devotions: Kids can experience firsthand how to connect with God.
The book is intended for three to six year olds, but my initial impression was that it is too simplistic for that age range. The more I read, however, the more I realize that there is a mix. Some entries are very simple, illustrating one verse or principle for very young minds; others are more developed, requiring more thoughtful application.

After perusing the book on my own, I started at the beginning with my toddler, reading through most of January in two sittings – for the sake of this review, of course! We then jumped right into the middle of the book, reading at random.

The lesson from Psalm 139 is definitely a favorite; because we have an avid little “painter” and “builder” at our house, I love the connection made between activities she understands and loves – communicating in terms she can grasp the wonder of the Creator’s delight in making her:
“When God made you, He picked out all your parts and put them together. So He knows and loves everything about you. You are His special creation.”
Another favorite is A Solid Rock, in which the qualities and uses of rocks are explained in terms little ones can appreciate:
“[Rocks are] really strong. Big rocks are great to stand on when you want to see higher or to sit on when you need to rest… God is incredibly strong, and He’s always there when we need Him.”
I do find myself fleshing out the more simple entries, sometimes substituting stronger vocabulary and more often adding in the message of salvation through Christ. For example, the entry on King David states: “He knew God loved him, even when he made bad choices and big mistakes.” I added: “Because God loved David and because He loves you and me, He sent Jesus to die for David’s sins and for your sins and my sins, too – so we can be forgiven!”

The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 can be a good tool in the hands of discerning parents who desire to teach God’s truths diligently to their children. (See Deuteronomy 6:5-7.) And it might help to make a noble New Year's Resolution a reality. Measuring 5.75 x 7.25 inches, the book has 384 beautifully laid out and illustrated pages in a hardcover binding. Because it is a book that will be used every day, all year, the list price of $14.99 seems very fair.

My almost four year old is delighted with the endearing artwork by Care Bears artist, Elena Kucharik. The cute Little Blessings characters at work and at play illustrate beautifully the principles being communicated and provide opportunity to discuss those truths further. We're looking forward to reading together!

A complimentary copy of the book was provided to me, as a reviewer for Mama Bzz, by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for today’s blog tour.

A big “Thank-you!” to the folks at Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to review and enjoy this wonderful book!

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