Board Books for Children
Reviewed by Kristin Stiles
Rebecca VanDoodewaard’s new set of board books based on the lives of men and women of the faith is such a refreshing offering in the area of children’s Christian literature. Her first four books in this series highlight the lives of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, George Whitefield, Susannah Spurgeon, and Katharina Luther.
The Doctor Who Became a Preacher
The Man Who Preached Outside
The Woman Who Loved to Give Books
The Woman Who Helped a Reformer
The first surprise is to see books that focus on the wives of two of the great men of the faith and not just on the famous husbands. The next surprise is the effort that went into making these books interactive to engage the littlest ones who read them or hear them read. The third surprise is the quality of illustration which sadly is not always found in books in this genre.
VanDoodewaard provides a great service to the youngest generation by making godly men and women of generations gone by accessible and interesting.
- With Martyn Lloyd-Jones, her focus is on how a doctor saw the importance of ministering to the soul over ministering to the body.
- With George Whitefield, she shows that his passion to preach the Gospel compelled him to travel great distances.
- With Katharina Luther, VanDoodewaard praises a woman who served as a helpmate for her very famous husband and who found her own ministry in raising up her children and providing hospitality to the many visitors who came to their home.
- And with Susannah Spurgeon, she shows how despite being sick, Mrs. Spurgeon still served God and her husband by sending thousands of books to poor ministers.
VanDoodewaard also does a great service to her readers by how she handles the subject matter. She uses phrases like “ask the Lord Jesus to forgive them of their sins” and writes about how we should serve others out of our thankfulness for what God has done for us. There are rich truths in these books that should be read over and over again to young children.
In addition to the great content, there is much to be appreciated in the educational value of these books. The language is simple and controlled with short, pithy sentences. On the back cover of each book, there is a list of items that the reader can look for as s/he pages through it. The text contains leading questions that parents can use to have their children predict what will happen next. All of these make for books that help with language acquisition and early reading skills.
Finally, something must be said about the illustrations. Blair Bailie has done a tremendous job creating these pictures. They are colorful and fun with lots of animals, foods, activities, and items to be looked at and identified. Bailie uses some different perspectives, also, to change things up. There is an overhead view of a dining room table that is just so clever. The faces of these famous people are very recognizable, too. Such a wonderful job of bringing to life the words of Mrs. VanDoodewaard.
Hopefully there will be many more titles added to this series in the future. It is a wonderful way to introduce children to Christian role models. Perhaps by learning about these men and women at such a young age, these children will later read their writings and study their biographies to learn how God uses everyday people to do great things for His kingdom.
Kristin Stiles helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.