I thought I would try something different today. Since September is back to school for many families, I am going to review some children’s books. There are quite a few genres represented, and several types of children’s books. The ones I review today are basically children’s picture books with an animal theme.
The first three are by James MayRose, an author who creates his children’s books with photography. His pictures are beautiful, attractive for children, up close and personal. He has a talent for capturing animals in winsome poses.
1. High Five: Caught on Camera by James MayRose
Children love picture books. They usually come in different types. This one is a picture book you sit to read to the little ones. This one features photographs of a variety of animals in comic poses, all as if they were offering a ‘high five’ to the viewer or another furry friend. With each picture is a caption that catches the moment and personifies it. Even a beluga whale gets into the act. “I see the ‘high’, but where’s the ‘five’ ?” Since this book is on a kindle, the pictures are alive and vibrant, and sure to entertain the little ones with the cute and the weird.
2. Dear God…Twenty-six Very Short Prayers for Children (To Inspire and Make Them Smile) by James MayRose
My children always loved picture books when they were very young. This type of picture book is one where you sit down to read to them while looking at the various animal pictures. This book features photographs of many kinds of animals in poses that look like they are praying to God. Some of the captions accompanying the pictures are serious, and some are light-hearted; none are disrespectful. A mother monkey holds her little one close and prays, “God, thank you so much for my beautiful daughter. She is the love of my life. Please help me to do my best for her and raise her in Your image. Amen.” Children can learn so much about God when they hear prayers modeled for them. This book is on kindle, and the pictures are alive, warm and friendly. There’s a great variety of animals represented in this book.
3. In the Hands of God: 24 Message to Inspire You and Life Your Spirits by James MayRose
“In God’s hands we are all beautiful…
for God sees the prince inside every frog.
God helps us to see the inner beauty in all people and things.”
They say a pictures is worth a thousand words. In this picture book for children (of all ages), the theme is animals and hands. Many of the animals shown are in someone’s hands. The messages are short, usually 3-4 lines long, but powerful and important for our children. There’s one tiny message for each picture. My favorite image is two hands releasing a lovely white dove into the air. The photograph captures and essence of freedom and the bird stretches out his wings and takes flight. Having this book on the kindle shows off the photographs to their best advantage. You get a close up view of a lot of animals you normally wouldn’t see so close.
4. The Singing Bobcat by Marie Tabler
Some children’s picture books are born out of a moment of experience and a good dose of “What if…?” The author of this book says this book was inspired by the mournful cry of a bobcat she heard while out jogging with her friend. The story of an unlikely friendship between a little blue chick and the bobcat was the result. For awhile, the friendship was sweet, but when winter began to approach, bobcat was sad because his friend had to leave and fly to warmer places. Children will enjoy what happens next.
Computer generated graphics, a rhyming scheme, and a satisfying ending give this charming story a light-hearted touch. Its message about friendship in the unlikeliest places is universal.
5. God Loves You and All the Bugs Too by Heather McBride
Technically, this is not really a children’s picture book nor is it a child’s read aloud book. It seems to be more like a children’s program, much like the Junior Church program my husband and I used to have with children while the adults were upstairs having worship services. The first half of the book is a grouping of children’s songs such as Jesus Loves Me, This Little Light of Mine, Angels Watching Over Me (this one I recognized from the Wee Sing Bible Songs book and tape/CD), and a couple other songs I wasn’t familiar with. [King of the Jungle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJwUvjVq9k4%5D There are graphics inserted on some pages that are common stock pictures you can find easily on the internet. Then there are some Bible verses with a few more pictures.
The second half of the book contains the story. Again, it is not a fictional story with a plot line, characters and setting, but a basic pre-school lesson with Bible verses interspersed. The graphics are cute. There’s at least one on each page. You could sit down with a young child and read them this story as you would a picture book, although in my opinion, the graphics are too small to catch and hold their interest while you give the lesson.
For very little children, it would probably be best to divide the “story” into smaller chunks and focus on a particular point and its verses and a song or two. It would be preferable to take only 10 minutes at a time. The “story” would be too long to deliver as a stand up lesson in Pee Wee church all the way through.
This would make a good reference source for a children’s worker.