I love finding new picture books that beautifully communicate the finer points of God’s Word and theology to young children. Benny’s Angel by Laura Allen Nonemaker is just such a book.
Mayor Benny Bunny and his friends live in God’s Secret Garden, a beautiful place of peace and joy created especially for them. But, Count Slime is determined to destroy their garden and their joy. One day the animals discover that the garden’s beautiful flowers have suddenly died! Unable to find the cause of the problem, the animals pray. God answers by sending the angel Marietta to guide the animals through each step of recovering the flowers in their beautiful garden.
Benny’s Angel teaches children a few beautiful lessons.
- Prayer should be our first stop. When we see a problem and don’t have immediate wisdom and insight for the solution, we must begin with prayer.
- Prayer should continue along the process. God doesn’t always give us the entire solution up front. We have to continually seek His face along the way.
- Joy is essential in the thwarting of the enemy’s plans. If he can rob us of our joy by affecting our circumstances, then we can easily be defeated. But, if our joy remains, we are victorious regardless of our circumstances.
There is one area where the theology of the author differs from my own significantly. The animals are told to pretend that the flowers are still there in order to help themselves maintain a joyful attitude. This resembles the attitude of claiming that my wallet is full even when it is not. It is focusing on the flowers or the money as our source of joy. The true source of our joy is, rather, in Christ Himself, not in our circumstances.
With this major issue in mind, Benny’s Angel is not a book I would simply hand to my children. Instead, it is a book I would read and discuss with my children. In fact, the way the animals focus on the flowers presents me with a beautiful platform from which to teach my children to find their joy in Christ, not in things or circumstances. That makes this presentation is a very helpful one.
Bottom line: Benny’s Angel is a very helpful book for teaching children what it means to go to God in prayer continually and to maintain joy no matter what the circumstances.
I received this book in exchange for my honest review.