Book Notes: Children's Books for the New Year

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It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for new books! I have slowed down on the number of books I am reading, but I still enjoy seeing the latest children’s books on the market, both Catholic and secular alike. Today, I am going to tell you about four of the latest offerings from Ignatius Press. These books are all aimed at children ages 3 to 8.

My First Prayers for the Whole Year is a collection of 29 prayers to teach your little ones and help them live a holy life day-by-day. There are your well-known prayers like the Our Father and Hail Mary, and also simpler versions of “grown-up” prayers, like the Gloria and Magnificat. There are also seasonal prayers for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. The layout is very conducive to learning the prayers as each prayer is two pages, one for the prayer and the other for an illustration (by Maïte Roche) of the prayer. This is an excellent book for new parents and one that belongs in every Catholic household.

Watch Over Me Little Angel is an explanation book all about angels, and specifically your guardian angel. It tells your child that their angel has been waiting for them to be born since the dawn of time. Your angel is also always with you, both when you are awake and when you are asleep, when you do good and when you do bad as well. The book also tells the story of Jacob from the Old Testament. The book ends with the prayer to the guardian angel, and is a great prayer to teach your children!

Mary Stories from the Bible is a book with five stories that cover her birth, the Annunciation of Jesus, the birth of Jesus, the Wedding Feast at Cana, and the death and Resurrection of Jesus. The first story is not from the Bible, if you want to get technical, but it is still a great story that all Catholic children should know. The illustrations are beautifully done and create welcoming pictures that guide your child closer to God. The words themselves are compelling and keep your child’s interest throughout the whole story. This book is the third of a series, the others being Jesus Stories and Angel Stories, and a worthy title to accompany the other two!

The Gospel Told by the Animals is a twist on telling of the Gospel stories. Instead, of people telling the good news of Jesus, we instead have animal narrators. The book starts with a dog, belonging to the shepherds who witness the myriad of angels and leads us to an ox in the stable where Jesus was born. We then see a wolf, a fish, a fox, a sparrow, and a sheep illustrating different parables/teachings of Jesus. The book ends with a donkey (Palm Sunday), rooster (Peter’s denial), and a dove (Jesus’s Resurrection). The illustrations are nice and the concept is clever. However, my son and I both felt that the message fell a little flat, which was surprising to me, because my son LOVES animals. The best part of this book is that each story contains the Scripture passage at the bottom. Unfortunately, I felt the book was more average than exceptional.

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Copyright 2019 Stuart Dunn
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About Author

Stuart Dunn was born and raised in Mobile, AL and received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Alabama. Stuart primarily does accounting and logistics at the Port of Mobile. He married his wife, Mary Katherine, in 2011 and welcomed their first child into the world in 2013. Stuart reviews all things Catholic including adult books, children’s books, Bible Study series, Catholic Courses, CDs, and DVDs in addition to board games at his blog Stuart’s Study at StuartsStudy.blogspot.com.

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