Board Books

Just In Case You Ever Wonder
By Max Lucado, illustrated by Toni Goffe
Thomas Nelson; January 2000; board edition
16 pages

A wonderful bedtime story to instill in your child just how much he or she is loved not only by you, but also by God. Best-selling author Max Lucado shares his warm blessing of love and tenderness in this board edition of a favorite family story. He writes, "As you grow and change, some things will stay the same. I'll always love you. I'll always hug you. I'll always be on your side. And I want you to know that . . . just in case you ever wonder."

Activity: Read this book at bedtime and tell your child five reasons why you love him or her and five reasons why he or she is special to you and to God.

What Is God's Name?
By Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, illustrated by Phoebe Stone
Skylight Paths Pub; September 1999; board edition, 24 pages
ISBN: 1893361101; list price: $7.95

Jewish Rabbi and best-selling children's author Sandy Sasso describes the origins of God's name in this board edition of the award-winning picture book In God's Name. You and your child will explore different images of God for the first time as you read aloud the many titles of God. Bright and colorful illustrations complement the simple yet profound text.

Activity: Think of three of your own names for God. Choose which one in the story you like the best.

The Carrot Seed
By Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson
Harperfestival; May 1993; board edition
ISBN: 0694004928; list price: $6.95

"It won't come up," everyone warns the young boy in this story, who has great expectations for a carrot seed that he plants and tends to carefully. The boy's conviction remains strong in the face of strong doubt and opposition. And to everyone's surprise except his, the carrot he eventually harvests grows as large as his faith, earning him first prize at the state fair. Young readers will learn the values of conviction and faith in this warm children's tale.

Activity: Together plant a carrot (or another type of vegetable) seed, tend to it, and watch it grow.

God Made Animals (and the God Made . . . Chunky Board Series)
Zondervan Publishing House; August, 1999; board edition, 12 pages
ISBN: 0310978602; list price: $2.99

Children ages four and under will enjoy these very simple books, which introduce them to basic names for things while delivering the clear message that God made everything. Each book focuses on a category of God's creation that babies through preschoolers find of special interest: Animals, Food, My Body, My World. The rainbow colored-and-shaped handle makes the book easy to carry and to open.

Activity: Repeat aloud the objects described in the book until your toddler can say them by himself or herself.

Designed by God So I Must Be Special
By Bonnie Sosé, illustrated by Bonnie Sosé and Holly Sosé
Character Builders; June 1991; hardcover, 17 pages
ISBN: 096152796X; list price: $12.00

This cheerful and colorful picture book is designed to stimulate the imagination and enhance the self-esteem of young children. The rhyming text and happy illustrations will attract and keep their attention as well as convey a sense of specialness and self-worth.

Activity: Point to one unique or special feature on your body-such as a birthmark or a freckle-that reminds you that you are designed and loved by God.

Picture Books

The Circle of Days
By Reeve Lindbergh, illustrated by Cathie Felstead
Candlewick Press; 1998; hardcover, 32 pages
ISBN: 073603570; list price: $15.99

This breathtaking picture book simplifies St. Francis of Assisi's "The Canticle of the Sun" without losing the beauty of its poetry. Like the canticle, it celebrates in word and picture the holiness of nature and reminds us of its wonder. The illustrator uses watercolor, gouache, and collage to enhance the melodic text with bright and colorful images, which will be sure to capture and hold the attention of young readers.

Activity: Go on a walk and name all of the things in nature for which you are grateful.

The Clown of God
By Tomie dePaola
Harcourt Brace; January 1986; hardcover, 48 pages
ISBN: 0152191755; list price: $16.00