Sometimes when you listen to Christian music or watch a Christian-themed movie it’s pretty clear that the quality isn’t up to par with secular music or movies. Sometimes the message is beaten into us a bit too heavily, while other times the pendulum swings the other way and far too many compromises are made. And a lot of the time the production values aren’t quite there due to limited funding and a smaller talent pool. Yet we’re so starved for wholesome entertainment that we tend to give media a pass if it has the word “Christian” in front of it.
I’ve found the same for Christian-based children’s books. The world of Christian children’s books is littered with lots of subpar products. Granted, I have the luxury of selecting the books I review here, so I tend to try to select books that I feel are promising. But I’ve also turned down reviewing a number of books.
But when a piece of Christian music, a Christian-based movie approaches the highest standards of quality we set for any kind of music or entertainment, that’s something really special. And the same is true for children’s books.
Counting Blessings is a book that fit this description. I’ve read a lot of spiritual and secular children’s books, and if I had to choose only a handful of books to read to my daughter, this would be one of them.
It’s a board book, with a padded front cover and sturdy pages. The book is filled with full color illustrations by Lee Holland, following the adventures of a little baby bunny through a day. The illustrations are beautiful, adorable, sweet, and whimsical. They aren’t just simple line drawings or cartoons, but highly artistic and emotive.
The words are simple and yet beautifully expressive, in rhyme, talking about blessings that the little bunny experiences through the day “One family–loves you sweet / Two hands, two feet / Three sweaters when it’s cold / Four cozy toys to hold”, and so on. The text isn’t contrived or forced like other rhyming books, but flows very naturally and elegantly, almost like a song. Each page counts a number up to 10 of blessings to be thankful for.
Something else I really like about the book is that it isn’t “in your face” when it comes to talking about religion or even God. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (and books we’ve read like “Thank you Lord for Everything” and “God is Watching Over You” do it exceptionally well). But I appreciate how this book focuses on the blessings that children (and adults) need to be reminded never to take for granted–a loving family, healthy body, warm clothes, food, friends, kisses, music, and the wonders of creation. The book never explicitly beats you over the head by shouting”You Need to Thank God For These Blessings”, but it really doesn’t need to, because that’s the natural conclusion that any person of faith will reach, and then pass on to their children.
My 10-month old is intrigued by the colors and the cute animals, and I can’t wait to use this as a way to teach her to count. Highly, highly recommended.