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Book Review: The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 (Little Blessings) by Carla Barnhill, Illustrated by Elena Kucharik

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One of my favorite Christian publishers, Tyndale House, offers a growing line of resources designed to encourage believers throughout the year in their spiritual lives. Their one year Bibles are fairly well know; perhaps less so are their one year devotional offerings for preschoolers.

Originally published as Blessings Every Day, The One Year Devotions for Preschoolers 2 has now been reprinted under a new title and brought into the One Year family of titles. Divided into 365 daily devotional readings, this charming title in the Little Blessings series illustrated by Elena Kucharik has proven to be irresistible to my three-year-old. My six-year-old listens in as well, but daily reading of one, two, three, or more selections from this devotional that reaches preschoolers on a personal level is an essential part of her bedtime routine.

Designed for reading chronologically, the devotions start at Genesis 1:1 on January 1st, and conclude with Revelation 22:5 on December 31st. Still, we enjoy jumping around as my daughter’s interest leads, and we read some of the chronological selections as well. Each daily devotion is one page and includes a scripture verse (drawn from a wide range of versions), a devotional reflection paragraph written at an easy to understand level, and a sweet rhyming couplet that reinforces the daily lesson.

When the text asks questions, my children always answer – they hit at the heart of common childhood concerns: feeling shy, afraid, alone, God’s love for us, making choices, dealing with difficult emotions, and much more. “Let’s read another poem!” My daughter often cries, leading me to appreciate the cute rhyming verses. Carla Barnhill has done an exemplary job of engaging young children in the devotional experience. In all honesty, no other children’s devotional has reached my middle child in the same way this offering has.

Part of the title’s great appeal is the charming illustrations by Elena Kucharik. As the creator of the Care Bears she knows what she’s doing when it comes to illustrating for children. Soft, yet filled with action (and incredibly charming to moms and children alike), Kucharik’s cast of five culturally diverse children is consistent throughout the book, including boys and girls of various ages.

The only downside is that the doctrine can be somewhat sloppy at times. In January 2nd’s reading, “Look-Alikes”, the text seems to indicate that we are all part of God’s family as opposed to the evidence found in John 1 wherein we read that those who believe in Jesus are given power to become the children of God. Since this book is designed for reading by parents to their children, it is not a huge task to correct these glitches.

I’ve already read through most of the January entries with my children in the week since we’ve begun reading One Year Devotions, and look forward to continuing our journey together as we learn more about God and how His Word applies to us. Don’t let the fact that January has already begun stop you from picking up a copy, you can just jump in where you’re at; your family will find the water fine.

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