Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Review: Smack Dab in the Middle of God's Love

This book review is provided by my wife, Hannah, who has an elementary education degree and is just a few weeks shy of her due date.



“Attractive, entertaining, but theologically unclear”

Smack-Dab in the Middle of God’s Love is a beautiful book that teaches children about God’s love for them using the catchy phrase, “smack-dab in the middle”. As neighborhood children and animals crowd into Willie Juan and Ana’s Mexican home, they enjoy homemade sopapillas and discuss God’s love. Willie Juan asks the children what God will ask them in heaven. Several children say He’ll ask if they completed certain acts of kindness. Willie Juan reassures them that even if they fail, God will still love them.

Although I enjoyed the book, I was concerned that it portrays a works-based salvation. Most evangelical Christians would say God will ask us if we have trusted in Jesus and good works should flow out of that love. Willie Juan could have explained how we show love because God loved us. Instead, the book does not qualify the children’s comments at all.

The bright watercolor illustrations show children of all colors and sizes in a realistic way. Each picture complements the words and adds details like animals, food, emotions, or flowers to the scene. The faces are particularly interesting and varied. Overall, the book was attractive, multicultural, and entertaining, but the sketchy theological views make me hesitant to recommend it for children.
I review for BookSneeze®
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their book review program, Booksneeze. I was not obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are mine.

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