Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Sharing - A Wish and a Prayer

A Wish and a Prayer

From now until June, I am teaching my preschool Sunday School class again, so I thought I'd do an occasional post called Sunday Sharing. In each post, I'll share a book with you that I plan to share with my class. After class, I'll update the post to talk about how the kids reacted to the book, sharing their reactions with you.

A Wish and a Prayer, published by 4RV Publishing in June 2010
Author: Beth Bence Reinke
Illustrator: Ginger Nielson

Some of you may remember that back in January, my very first review was of another book by Beth Bence Reinke, In My Bath, an absolute delight of a book. In A Wish and a Prayer, Beth Bence Reinke has again teamed up with Ginger Nielson, who provides lovely illustrations for this story of a young boy, Jason, whose pet parakeet, Sonny, escapes through an open window.

Over the next few days, Jason hopes and wishes that Sonny will return. His friend Scott says that wishes made at 11:11 will come true, and Jason tries that. Another friend, Tasha, suggests throwing pennies into a fountain and making a wish. In these and other ways, Jason wishes for his parakeet to return, but to no avail.

Finally, when his mother hears about all the wishing, she talks to Jason about wishing and praying, and asks who hears wishes and who hears prayers. That night, Jason prays to God, and the next morning, guess who is back?

As you might guess, this is a message book. Like most, the message can feel a little preachy, and is only appropriate if your religious beliefs match those of the message. On the other hand, the book is fairly open and nondenominational, so there will be few objections from any Christian denomination. My wife is Unitarian, and she might hesitate, but would probably read this to one of our children if they were of that age.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I like that Jason's friends are both black and white but that it is never mentioned, just visually understood. I like the age-appropriate way Jason thinks and reacts. There are also good uses of sound effects that I think my preschoolers will like when I read aloud. I'd recommend this book strongly, with the caveat that it wouldn't be appropriate for public schools or for families who do not believe in God, or who are not comfortable pushing their faith onto their children. I would give this four stars out of five.

Now, I need to get ready for church. Afterward, I'll share what my kids think.

Update: The best laid plans and all that. They haven't found another Sunday School teacher yet, and while I would have been happy to team teach with a parent, the Youth Minister wanted to make a point by canceling Sunday School for the week. So, no sharing except with you. Sorry.

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  1. Oooh. Definitely do this. I'm always looking for great spiritual books for my kids. cheers.

  2. I've switched ideologies so many times that my ipod is filled with songs promoting beliefs I no longer hold. I still enjoy them, however, because they are nostalgic and help me to remember and understand people. It sounds like this book actually has 2 messages for children, extending it's appeal for parents who wish to teach one or both.

  3. You always have such interesting and original recommendations, Ben. Thanks! :-)

  4. Ben, I really appreciate your insightful review of A Wish and a Prayer.

    I was sooo looking forward to hearing about your preschoolers in Sunday School reacted to the story. If you have another opportunity to teach, I hope you'll share the book and update this post to fill us in. After all, it's all about the kids...that's why we write, illustrate and publish. :o)

    Thanks again.

  5. Your review was honest and welcome. As a Sunday School Teacher and former grade school teacher I can relate to Beth's characters. She makes each story she writes so appealing that I can not wait to get started illustrating the ones I am offered. In our church we must have two adults present at all times when we are with children. Only one needs to be a teacher, and our teams work out so well that the second person often becomes that teacher as well. We will be sharing the book with our students and hope you will have a chance to do so as well.

  6. Thank you for an insightful review. If you do get to share the book with a class, please share the experience with us.


  7. Thanks! I will certainly share the book with my class. I am not on next Sunday, but the Sunday after I am teaching and will be sure to post about how they react. It's a book I am looking forward to sharing with them.