This book speaks to a child's heart with Sophie's every sketch-and-watercolor floating butterfly, slinking snail, stomping elephant, overpowering blue whale, starry sky, and brilliant moon. From frolicking around a tree trunk nestled in a blossoming garden, to riding atop and experiencing the majesty of an elephant amidst the mountains, nibbling on crustless sandwiches and sweet strawberry cakes at a picnic, battling the colossal force of the ocean waves by boat, and gazing into the grin of a glowing moon, the characters live out children's wildest dreams. Dear God... steals its readers away to a magical world.
Coupled with the charming illustrations are scriptures, poems, and ethereal, enfolded prayer cards filling our souls with gratitude, humility, and grace.
Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything!
- E. R. Leatham
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
- From "All Things Bright and Beautiful"
by Cecil Alexander
When we first began to uncover the blessings of this book, I would read a poem or two from each page and then we would pick one prayer to absorb. We were chugging along each night reading prayers like this:
thank you for
making animals, who
I can love, play with,
and look after.
Let me always treat
my pets with kindness
and respect, so they
So on this night, just like any other, I read a verse aloud. Then, as usual, I slipped out the next prayer card, we put our hands together, I read a line and then asked Little Girl to repeat each phrase:
I know I am lucky.
So many children
have never even had
a clean glass of
water or a full belly.
May all the children
in the world one day
have what I have.
Whether it was because I had been up with both girls for a few nights in a row because of a nasty cold, or because every time I draw them their large, lavish tub full of warm water and froth of bubble bath I think how some children in the world won't see that much clean water in their lifetime, the tears ran down my face. I could see the wheels in Little Girl's head turning, her eyes examining mommy's tears, her head tilting like a puppy as she tried to comprehend. I tried to break it down for here, "Did you know that, Little Girl? You know how you feel when your tummy aches and you ask me for breakfast or a snack? Some children feel like that all the time. (more tears) So we need to give thanks to God for our blessings and we need to pray for children who aren't blessed the same."
We've certainly been touched by Dear God... thanks to three very talented people. When I purchased the book years ago I didn't notice the author's name and didn't realize until I googled him just now why "Max Lucado" had a certain ring to it- he's famous. Taken from his website, "Max Lucado loves words – written, spoken – it does not matter. He loves to craft sentences that are memorable, inspiring and hopefully life-changing. In almost 25 years of writing, more than 100 million products—80 million books—filled with his words have been sold." Max has served as a Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, TX since 1988 and has three grown daughters.
"His works have appeared on every major national bestseller list including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, The New York Times, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and Christian Booksellers Association...Reader’s Digest magazine dubbed him 'America’s Best Preacher' and in 2004, Christianity Today magazine called him 'America’s Pastor'." I guess he's kind of a big deal.
According to her literary agent's (Caroline Sheldon) site, "Stella pursued a happy career as a writer and editor in children's publishing at Walker Books and Templar before becoming a full time writer and mum to two boys." And I found the following brief bio about the illustrator here:
"Sophie Allsopp grew up in a small English village and Hong Kong, where she enjoyed living in a hotel and going to school on a tram. She spent her spare time making miniature houses full of tiny furniture and people, but stopped when she had a town full. Now her spare time is spent making jewelry and occasional small creatures out of felt, and for twenty years she’s illustrated for a wide range of clients around the world. Sophie lives in the south east of England with her husband, son, cat, and a grumpy white guinea pig call Stanley."
The Review and The Classroom
Dear God... earned a 5 out of 5 blueberries and is for ages 4-8. If you're looking for accompanying prayer crafts or activities for school or Vacation Bible School, click here or here! And if you would like to purchase a copy, please buy it here at a site I have recently discovered. Better World Books matches every book purchased by donating a book to a child in need- as stated in their literacy mission. Better World Books has fit my needs in terms of selection, has competitive pricing (Dear God... on BWB vs. Dear God... on Amazon), free shipping on all orders, and is part of such an amazing cause!