Thursday, October 28, 2021

2 Very Holiday Prayer Books


Here are 2 great books for very young children for the upcoming holidays! I have some issues with board books these days. Board books are produced for little hands that are hard on thin pages, but too often modern board books have too much text and too many abstract concepts for such young children. In contrast, these 2 books are, as Goldilocks would say: "Just right!" 

Picture Book: A Very Thankful Prayer

Author: Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Illustrator: Natalie Moore

Summary: Within an autumnal context and with simple rhymed verse, a young bunny explains how the day starts with a happy and thankful heart. What follows is a list (and the illustrator's delightfully bright images) of many things & people that this young animal is thankful for. These include falling leaves, sunbeams & seeds, loving family members around a small table, and later a menagerie of young animal friends around a table celebrating a Thanksgiving holiday meal. Later you'll see a forest scene around a campfire with marshmallows roasting. Being thankful for the ability to help, share, and give is included as well. The last page declares gratitude that God made fall and thanks for God's love that fills the earth. 

Hanna’s Comments: My wording is a bit awkward above because 2 things weren't clear to me: the gender of the animals (that's not a problem!) and which animal is speaking in these pages. A variety of young animals are shown across the pages. They all seem to be in community together. Substituting plural pronouns might help avoid some confusion, but your children probably won't even notice.  

Original Publisher: Thomas Nelson, 2017

Age Appropriateness: toddlers and up

Formats other than Book: Tablet

Scripture Connections: Any scripture about gratitude connects to this book, especially those relating to community. 

Connections to The Revised Common Lectionary: In Trinity Treasures, a 3-year preschool curriculum based on this Lectionary, I recommend this book be read to start a lesson for Thanksgiving Sunday based on the story of Jesus healing the 10 lepers. You may recall, only 1 man returns to him to say thank you. (Luke 17:11-19) 

PBT Applications: As you read each page, invite your children to find other things they see on the pages or in the room that they are thankful for. Be sure to give credit to God for these. This book is about prayer after all! At the book's end, talk about how your children's fall holiday traditions are like & unlike the animal friends' holiday traditions shown here. As your children share an experience, help them outwardly express their gratitude to God. 


Picture Book: A Very Merry Christmas Prayer

Author: Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Illustrator: Natalie Moore

Summary: This book begins:

Here's my Merry Christmas prayer

I'll send to God above, 

For all the gifts He's given, 

From a heart filled with love.

What follows is similar verses celebrating traditional American Advent & Christmas festivities. Each is linked to a more sacred part of the Christmas story. Strings of lights are like the Bethlehem star; the cozy bed of several cute mice are like the manger cradling "our Lord's head." Carols are compared to the angel's song, and family time is reminiscent of the Mary's great love for her baby. 

Hanna’s Comments: There is an emphasis on God's love and gifts here that I like! If the rituals shown in this book don't match up to your community's, then encourage your audience members to find reflections of God's great love and gifts in their own Advent/Christmas rituals. 

Original Publisher: Thomas Nelson, 2015

Age Appropriateness: toddlers and up

Formats other than Book: Tablet

Scripture Connections: This book connects to the various scriptures that describe the nativity story and God's many gifts of love, forgiveness, and Jesus especially. 

Connections to The Revised Common Lectionary: In Trinity Treasures, a 3-year preschool curriculum based on this Lectionary, I list this book, among many picture book recommendations, in several of the Advent lessons. 

PBT Applications: Read this book during the Advent or Christmas season to your preschoolers. Encourage them to talk about the relationships (not things) that mean the most to them during these seasons.  

If you are interested in learning more about my Trinity Treasures, a scripture based preschool Sunday school curriculum that features picture books & children’s Bibles, contact me at Right now free lessons are emailed if you agree to fill out the monthly feedback form.

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