Answering Theological Questions for Children

A new book review from my wife Tracy.

God Gave Us So Much (Waterbrook Press, 2010).

This delightful treasury includes three books in one collection. Here, Mama, Papa, Little Cub, and the Twins explore God’s world, love, and heaven. Complex subjects are handled in a format even the youngest child can understand.

In God Gave Us the World, Little Cub and her family visit a museum that features an exhibit on bears around the world. Little Cub learns that while her family lives in the North Pole where it is cold and snowy, other bears live in other climates all over the world. While exploring black bears, panda bears, sloth bears, and grizzly bears, Little Cub and Mama discuss how each species is different. Little Cub learns that other bears eat things and live in places that are completely different from her way of life. Even so, they are all bears and all were made by God. Every bear has a special home and the variety of bears reflects God’s creativity. From the concept of a big, creative, sovereign God, the author helps children understand that the world reflects God’s glory and we are put here to worship and serve him in the special home he gave us. In addition, we are to take care of God’s special world. Little Cub falls asleep at the end of the day happy to be a bear and glad that God has given her a special place in his world.

This story will help children understand their place in the world and why God made the world. It also helps them gain an appreciation for the diversity of God’s creation and their responsibility to take care of it, while avoiding being politically correct. After all, proper stewardship of the earth comes from a proper understanding of the God who made this special planet.

In God Gave us Love, Little Cub is frustrated because the otters are ruining her fishing day by scaring away the fish. Grampa helps her understand that God wants us to show his love to everyone. Little Cub understands that God made us to love others, but she realizes there are different kinds of love such as the love between her parents and love between friends and family and love for God. Little Cub also realizes that while she loves her twin brother and sister, sometimes she thinks they are as pesky as the otters. Grandpa explains that we don’t always feel like loving others, but choosing to love them is the right thing to do. The story then turns to God’s love for us as Little Cub wrestles with questions such as can I do anything that will make God not love me, and how do I know God loves me?

This reassuring book will help young children understand that they are responsible to show love to others even when they don’t feel like it. They will also learn that they can never do anything that will separate them from God’s love. In the end, no one loves us as much as God loves us.

In God Gave Us Heaven, Little Cub learns that heaven is God’s home. She learns that older people die and go to heaven, but sometimes younger people die too. Even though bad things happen here on earth, nothing bad ever happens in heaven. Even though Little Cub is having a good time on her fishing trip with Papa, she learns that heaven will be even better than her best times on earth. She will not need her stuff in heaven, besides, Papa reminds her that our best stuff on earth are family, friends, and faith. Little Cub wonders if she will see her family in heaven. Papa tells her that all our loved ones will be there. When Little Cub asks how to get to heaven, Papa explains that God’s Son, Jesus, came to be our bridge and provide us way to heaven.

This book helps answer many of a child’s most commonly asked questions about heaven. It would be especially comforting for a child who has lost a loved one, or who is asking questions about dying and what comes after death. If there is a weakness in the book’s explanation, it may be that the author does not state clearly that only God’s children go to heaven. This may be a point parents would want to clarify with their child depending on their child’s level of understanding.

All three of these books offer clear, comforting answers to a child’s questions. The subjects are treated seriously, yet in an age-appropriate way. The beautiful illustrations are a pleasure to look at, and the ending page of each book sums up the message of the story beautifully making a child feel safe and secure in her world.

This book was provided free of charge to me by Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of review.

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