Looking at the cover, God’s Very Good Idea seems to be about the wonderful diversity of people in God’s world. And it is that!
But as the subtitle A True Story about God’s Delightfully Different Family hints, this picture book covers so much more.
In fact, this picture book packs a lot of biblical understanding into 32 pages, all on a level that older preschoolers and early elementary grades can easily and enjoyably grasp.
(The illustrations are so much fun too!)
Right from the start, we learn that God’s very good idea was people, “lots of people, lots of different people, who would all enjoy loving him and all enjoy loving each other.”
So, God created the world, and then He made people, the first man and a woman.
(I have to stop right here. It is SO HARD to illustrate Adam and Eve in the garden in a children’s book. Often they’re positioned behind bushes with just their heads showing. Not this time! Well done.)
As more people filled the world, all were made in God’s image, and all were different, individual, and valuable, and this is still true today.
God’s good idea was ruined when people chose not to love God and then forgot to love others. Here is where the author introduces the idea of sin, how sin affects how we treat other people, and that all people need forgiveness.
(Let me stop right here once more. I LOVE the way the illustrations showing Bible narrative are designed.In one corner we see a child with a Bible or a group of children gathered around a Bible, while the Bible action and story text take place within a GIANT thought balloon.)
God wasn’t surprised by how people had ruined His good idea, and he put His rescue plan in place.
The author introduces Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit. People can love and enjoy God and each other once again—both now and when Jesus returns to finish his very good idea).
Now comes what makes this book especially unique: a simple explanation about the church and diversity within the church:
We can enjoy being part of God’s family right now, because “Jesus welcomes everyone who asks him to forgive them. . . . God’s family is called the church. Your church friends are your brothers and sisters—your wonderful and colorful church family. You can enjoy loving them and loving God with them.”
Near the end of the book is this memorable short statement that sums up God’s very good idea. It’s easy for kids to learn to remind them of God’s very good idea every day:
“God MADE it. People RUINED it. He RESCUED it. He will FINISH it.”
God’s Very Good Idea
written by Trillia Newbell, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri
published by The Good Book Company (2017)
hardcover, 32 pages, 9 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
(This book is part of the publisher’s Tales that Tell the Truth series and includes a page for parents at the back.)
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.