Jesus Loves Me
Little Simon, 2008
With a nearly 4-year-old and a 9-month old in the house, our family’s literary life consists of simultaneously re-visiting favorite board books and branching out into new territory: chapter books! Although I thoroughly enjoy introducing my son to the books I shared with my daughter during her babyhood, it’s been harder to regularly set aside time specifically for board book reading. He’s usually around when I’m reading picture books to my daughter, and it’s been easy to forget that the little guy deserves reading time just for him, too!
We already have lots of favorite board books, but of course there are many that have been recently published and we’re staring to explore those as well. Back when my daughter was a baby I lamented the fact that there were so few theological board books. (Ones that were well done, that is…) Lately, though, I’ve found several really good ones that I’m eager to share!
Jesus Loves Me comes in hardback and board book formats (kindle too, actually) and is best suited to kids up to age 3. The text is, as you might have guessed, simply the lyrics to the children’s hymn Jesus Loves Me. Did you know that there are actually 12 verses to that song?! There are 3 included in this book: the one that nearly everyone knows plus two more.
Jesus loves me this I know
As he loved so long ago
Taking children on his knee
Saying, “Let them come to me”
Jesus loves me still today
Walking with me on my way
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live
I’ve sometimes been tempted to label this song as overly sentimental or flippant, but I’ve decided that those critical inclinations are completely wrong. After all, what is the basic building block of what a very young child needs to know about God? He needs to know that He loves him, welcomes him, and is with him each day – which is precisely the message of Jesus Loves Me.
Here is my simple test for artwork in books I’m considering reviewing here on the blog: If I put it on our display bookshelf with the rest of our library books, does it fit in? Or does it look out of place because it’s done with less excellence? Happily, Tim Warnes’ artwork in Jesus Loves Me fits in very well next to other books we love for their artistic beauty. The book follows a bear family of three as they go about daily activities like reading, eating, gardening, fishing, hiking, and going to bed. The images bring to mind Deuteronomy 6 and the commandment to talk about God with children wherever you go, whatever you do. The bears are a warm and playful bunch, and I can pretty much guarantee that watching them in this book will make you want to give an extra snuggle to the little people you love.
Jesus Loves Me has made its way onto my list of favorite books to give for baby showers, and I’d encourage you to share it with to the babies and toddlers in your life as well!