Three recent picture books can help children feel safe and happy even though their routines have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
Quinn’s Promise Rock
Written by Christie Thomas, illustrated by Sydney Hanson
Harvest House, 2019
hardcover, 32 pages, 9 x 0.4 x 9 inches
Out on a night flight with her father, Quinn is a worried little owl. What if she gets lost? What if she can’t keep up with her father, or loses sight of him?
Quinn’s father uses three different rocks to assure Quinn that she is safe and that God always takes care of her.
Like the rocky top of the mountain from which Quinn can always see her home, God is unchanging and always present too.
Like the cave where Quinn and her father wait safely for a storm to pass, God is always with us to keep us safe when we’re afraid.
And like the small rock Quinn’s father gives her to tuck beneath her feathers, our big God is also small enough to go with us everywhere.
The muted illustrations in Quinn’s Promise Rock seem to echo the reassuring tone of the text, and children will enjoy spotting the fireflies and small bats scattered throughout the book.
A note to parents provides child-friendly Bible verses to calm anxious hearts and tips. The book might be especially useful when a child is experiencing separation anxiety, but it seems good for any other anxiety-filled situation as well.
Little Mole Finds Hope
written by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Sally Garland
Beaming Books, 2020
hardcover, 32 pages, 8 x 2.3 x 9 inches
I have to confess: I don’t like moles. Their digging has destroyed my yard and flower beds too many summers. They are not cute and cuddly (especially not the dead one I found once in the grass between my house and a neighbor’s).
Little Mole as a picture book character? Well, he likely will become your child’s special friend, especially at times he or she is feeling sad and in need of hope.
To help Little Mole find hope, Mama takes him on a walk through their burrow and then above ground. They encounter a dead-looking bulb, a tree with bare branches, and a chrysalis hanging inside a tipped-over flower pot.
At each stop, Mama tells Little Mole what will happen soon—a daffodil will bloom, the tree branches will bud and cover the tree in bright green leaves, a butterfly will burst out of the chrysalis and spread her wings. Mama encourages Little Mole to close his eyes and imagine each scene.
“Can you see [the leaves] dancing in the wind?”
“Yes, Mama!” cried Little Mole. “I see them! I see them!”
“That is hope,” Mama said.
Back at home, Little Mole says, “Now I know there’s always hope, even in the darkest times.” Tucked into bed, he falls asleep and dreams of dancing daffodils, green leaves, and beautiful butterflies.
A two-page Discussion Guide for Caregivers offers questions about the story, tips to help a child who is feeling sad, and a reminder to always look for hope whenever your family or your child goes through a difficult time.
God’s Protection Covers Me
written by Amy Houts, illustrated by David Creighton-Pester
Beaming Books, 2019
hardcover, 32 pages, 8 x 0.5 x 8 inches
Set on a farm, the well-metered rhymes and bright illustrations in this picture book compare animal homes to the God’s care and protection every day.
Following a young boy as he roams the farm, children will learn a variety of animal-home names that likely will be new to most, including Quonset, warren, burrow (moles again!), and crawl space.
As it begins to rain, the boy finds shelter under his mother’s umbrella and together they head for their warm and cozy house. Wrapped up in a blanket and holding a mug of hot cocoa, the boy ends the book:
I am safe and worry-free.
God’s protection covers me.
Every day in all you do,
God’s protection covers you!
A parent page at the back with references to Bible people who experienced God’s protection would have been a helpful addition. But otherwise this is a well-done picture book for ages 2-4.
About These Reviews and Recommendations
My career as a children’s book editor, acquisitions editor, and editorial director greatly influences my response to books. I have seen a LOT of manuscripts and books. I have high standards for text, illustration, book design, and the purpose of a book. (This is a nice way of saying I am slightly jaded and quite particular.)
I understand too that parents, grandparents, and others who buy books want and need good value in the books you choose. Your book budget is not unlimited.
I’m not writing these reviews as hype or promotion for fellow author’s books. I do care about helping authors—after all, I am one. I understand the effort authors pour into every book and the hopes they have for each one. The books I recommend, however, I’m choosing because of the merit I see in the book, no other reason.
I want to point you to the best books more than I want to point out books I don’t like, so I won’t be writing negative reviews. If I can’t support a book, I just won’t write about it. At times, however, I may note details or features I would have changed in a book I otherwise recommend. This is to help you make your own decisions about what books are right for your family or ministry.