Kristin Stiles’ Review of DON’T BLAME THE MUD, by Marty Machowski

Published on April 1, 2020 by Benjamin J. Montoya

New Growth Press, 2019 | 32 pages

A Book Review from Books At a Glance

By Kristin Stiles


Sin is a foreign concept to most kids. They know they do bad stuff and that they get in trouble with Mom and Dad, but the causes and effects of sin are often too abstract for them to understand. Marty Machowski has penned a clever allegory to help kids comprehend what sin is and come to a better understanding of the cleansing work that the blood of Jesus accomplishes.

Max is dressed in his new school uniform. His mother made it very clear to him that he was to come in and change into other clothes before going out to play and that he was not to get his uniform muddy. Max ignores her words and reasons to himself that he can walk along the trail without getting dirty. It comes as no surprise that he soon slips and finds himself covered with mud. He sneaks into the house and hides his clothes under his bed, but the evidence of his disobedience is all over. His parents confront him, and he not only blames the mud but also outright lies to his father. After Max gets washed up, he still feels dirty. His parents discuss his behavior and explain to him that it is sin, and even after he has tried to clean himself up, shame and guilt remain. His father then shares the good news of the atoning work that Jesus completed on the cross and how Max can be cleansed not just from mud, but from sin, guilt, and shame. Max is convicted of his sin and offers a prayer of repentance and faith.

Machowski does a fine job presenting the need for forgiveness and how that forgiveness is made available and applied. He explains these theological concepts using real life examples that kids would be familiar with. He personifies the mud which provides a subtle, but strong message. The mud monster represents sin and from the very first page when Max appears, the figure of the mud is already there. This is a reminder that our sin nature is with us from birth. Later in the story, we see that even when the outward traces of that mud on Max’s body and clothes were removed, the mud persona still remained. This in itself can help parents explain to their children that it’s not enough to look righteous on the outside. We can only be truly clean and forgiven when we’ve been sanctified. The use of this mud character was very clever.

The book finishes with two sections for the parent to use for further reference. The first is titled “Helping Your Child Understand Sin” and the second is “Helping Your Child Understand the Gospel.” Both of these sections have a clear presentation of the biblical truths that can aid parents in explaining salvation to their children. Finally, there is a list of key verses which provide “A Promise,” “A Prayer,” and “A Plea.” All this provides a great resource for parents as they lead their little ones to Christ.


Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.

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DON'T BLAME THE MUD, by Marty Machowski

New Growth Press, 2019 | 32 pages

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