This review is a part of a blog tour sponsored by Ministry-to-Children.com, Sojourn Community Church and Christian Focus Publications. I received a complimentary copy of the book in order to participate in this event. Along with the book, I received a one page list of instructions concerning the review and an additional page of commendations written by five other reviewers. I state this in the interest of full disclosure and to assure the good folks at the FTC that my opinions are my own and are not swayed positively or negatively by having received the complimentary book or the accompanying information.
Our Home is Like a Little Church is a beautifully illustrated and gently written story book designed to teach preschool children that their homes are like the church, and their daddies are the pastors in their homes. It is written by Lindsey Blair and Bobby Gilles, and illustrated by Tessa Janes, all from Sojourn Community Church. With an large attractive font and rhyming prose which pleases the preschool ear, the book is easy to read outloud. The character drawings evoke feelings of childlike simplicity while also conveying a range of real human emotions, postures, and actions. Quite simply, it is fun for both adults and children to look at as well as read.
Given the theme of the book which places fathers as pastors in their own homes, this quite understandably narrows the potential audience. I have no problems recommending the book to households with a mom and a dad present, or to the occasional single father household I encounter. I am unlikely, however, to recommend it to the homes in my church or in my community which are led by single mothers. Thus, one third of the households in my church might not find this book to be relevant for them at this point in time. This statistic closely mirrors that of the metro area where my church is located. Just a couple of Sundays ago I held a four year-old boy in my arms as he wept over the bad choices of his father who is not a part of his home. Even he would recognize that his daddy is not his pastor, or any kind of helpful influence. Likewise, I would use discernment for special situations which I encounter quite frequently, such as homes with foster children.
Having said that, I do think there is merit in teaching fathers and children the role that fathers should play in the home: spiritual leader, shepherd, hero, champion, and yes, even pastor (which of course is a spiritual leader, shepherd, hero, champion, etc). Most wives yearn for their husbands who have not yet done so to step up in this way in their homes. Most fathers are willing, but not sure how to go about it. So, maybe future books can show what this looks like in greater detail and in the same gently pleasing way demonstrated in Our Church is Like a Little Church.
UPDATE as of 16 May 2010:
I shared my copy of this book along with several other children’s books with a young family in my church. Their three year old boy loves Our Home is Like a Little Church. It is the one book he wants Dad and Mom to read to him at bedtime each night. He loves the characters. They are fun for h im to look at and point out on each page. Nothing like having a three year old give a child’s perspective.