Friday, January 9, 2009

Book Review: Questions from Little Hearts

Bostrom, Kathleen Long. 2009. (Pub. February) Questions from Little Hearts. Illustrated by Elena Kucharik. (288 pages)

This wonderful book gathers together FOUR books into one collection: What is God Like? What is Prayer? What About Heaven? and Are Angels Real?

It uses rhyme. But the rhyme stays on the good side of dinky. In other words, it doesn't cross the line into dinky. It actually works. Now, the rhyme isn't 100% perfect, there are a few places in all four books as a whole, where the rhythm or the rhyme doesn't quite flow perfectly. But if I were to give it a grade--it'd definitely be an A.

The format is question and answer. They'll be a poem asking a series of questions. And then they'll be a follow-up poem answering those questions (and so much more!).

The book uses Scripture. After both set of poems, you'll find a "Bible References" section that repeats the second poem--in bold--but this time you'll find scripture verses and references. For each line of that poem, you've got scripture proofs that it really is so.

The book is multicultural in that the illustrations are diverse--God isn't just for white folks after all. Granted, this isn't a big deal. But I like to see all sorts of children represented. And perhaps just perhaps it could have been done better. But it works.

The illustrations. I didn't love the illustrations. I did like them however. They have a Precious Moments-ish feel about them. Bordering between cutesie and dinky. I think they work relatively well. Personally, I like a different type of illustration style better. (More realistic, less greeting card) But they're nice enough, good enough.

To give you a taste of the poems...

I can't see you, God,
so please give me a clue:
Do you look like me,
and do I look like you?

Are you big or little?
Are you short or tall?
Can you really see me
when I am so small?

Do you like to whisper?
Do you like to shout?
Can you sing or whistle?
I'd like to find out.

Are you strong or gentle?
Are you ever sad?
Do you have a temper
like me when I'm mad?

Where do you live?
In a house in the sky?
How do I know
you are somewhere nearby?

Do you love me always,
or just when I'm good?
I don't always do things
the way that I should.

I have lots of questions
to ask you like these.
I wonder if maybe
you'll answer them, please?

I just love it. I do. There's an easiness to it. A naturalness that just makes this book work well. If you've read my blog long, you know that I can be harsh when it comes to picture books and rhyming. But in my opinion, this one is truly great in its field.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers


Bogsider said...

What a great and through review. I admire your ability to write a great deal.

I am not familiar with Christian picture books at all, but the images bother me in that I think they are too cutey-cute. Not that they should be fire and brimstone, there is just something that bugs me regarding the front cover.

Have a great weekend and continuing good luck in actually read the bible :o)

Becky said...

Bogsider, I agree. The pictures are definitely pushing the boundary into cutesy-wootsie or dinkyville. They're a bit too greeting-card for me. But I've seen much much worse. There are some that take dinky to a whole new level. I personally prefer a more realistic approach--think Garth Williams, Eloise Wilkins, etc. They were cute without being cutesy.