Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Exploring the Reach of God's Love with the Picture Book "Nothing" by Natalee Creech {A TOS Review}


Though my children are getting older, we still enjoy reading picture books together, so when I get a chance to review a new book, I jump at the opportunity, especially when it is a Christian book with a great message. Such was the case with this book titled Nothing by Natalee Creech, a new title from WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.


We received the 32-page, jacketed, hardcover book. The first time I shared it, I started out reading it to just Harold, who is 7. He is the youngest child in the house, and he is at the high end of the 4-7 year old age-range recommended for the book. As I was reading, Hannah (9) and Tabitha (12) gathered around. Amelia (10) was already in bed. Amelia has since read it to herself, as had Hannah:


And Harold has helped me read it:


This really is a charming book that helps to reassure children that nothing can separate us from God's love. 

The book is based on Romans 8:38-39, which is quoted from the CEB (Common English Bible) on the first page, prior to the start of the story.


The children recognized this verse as one that we had memorized in Sunday School a while back, even though our Sunday School curriculum uses a different version of the Bible. 

The book is composed of rhyming verse combined with bright and colorful, eye-catching illustrations. Personally, I am a huge fan of picture books written in rhyme, so it caught my attention right away, and with the added rhythm the story sort of rolled right off the tongue. I found that these types of books are wonderful to read aloud, so you can truly catch that rhythm and rhyme. 

The story itself begins with the question, "Can ANYTHING separate me from GOD'S LOVE?"


We then go on an adventure through the imaginative artwork where the children can be found in such places as the "heights and depths" (tippy top of a mountain and deepest sea), and a treehouse in the middle of a terrible storm, as the author and illustrator team up to answer this and other questions. 

After talking about the different places and natural events that won't separate us from God, the children wonder if going on a train, a plane, or even a rocket into space would outdistance God's love and God's grace. The answer of course is a resounding "No!" exclaimed above the picture of a roaring waterfall. 

The next child wants to know if he dove under the sea if God's love would still follow him. To this question, the answer is a huge "YES!" which is followed by, "GOD'S LOVE is EVERYWHERE," along with a short list of places (desert, moon, beach), ending with, "there's no place at all that HIS LOVE cannot reach!"

And finally, one child wants to know if doing something she knew she shouldn't do would mean God's love is over. Again, there is the reassurance that God's love doesn't change or go away. 

There is further encouragement through the repeated refrain:


The book actually ends with this refrain. We are left realizing that God's love is a powerful thing which we can never lose. Such a wonderful book to share with children. 

I love that the text on each page is brief, but powerful. The choice of font and the size of it fit so well with the story, and I love that words that the author wanted to emphasize are in bold, all capitals, or larger on the page. And though the text itself is wonderful, it is that it is combined with such beautiful artwork that really makes this book. 

Except for a couple of double page spreads which have colorful illustrations inside panels on the white background, the majority of the book is composed of illustrations that cover the pages. There are both pictures that span the entire two pages, and spreads where one picture goes with one part of the text while the opposite page goes with the next part. However, the colors coordinate and blend so well, they sort of trick the brain, making them appear to be one complete picture.


The whimsical, colorful pictures really do appeal to children in my opinion.

Nothing by Natalee Creech and illustrated by Joseph Cowman would be a wonderful addition to your home library, or even your church library. It is a wonderful reminder of the everpresent love of God, a reminder of just how much he loves each and every one of his children. Though the recommended age range is given as 4-7, I do believe younger children will enjoy this book. The brief, rhyming text on each page, and adventuresome pictures, are sure to keep the attention of toddlers and preschoolers. And children older than 7 would also enjoy it, especially because they should be able to read it independently (though there are some trickier words younger children might need some help with, such as boarded, outdistance, and disguise.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. 

Let me close with a little about the author and illustrator:

Natalee Creech "is a children's author who enjoys bringing Scripture to life through rhyme." She grew up in Canada, studied education in the United States, and taught in South Korea for many years. The fact that she likes to sneak "children's books into the house, much to the delight of her children and the dismay of her husband" makes it sound like we could be good friends. Her website is: NataleeCreech.com

Joseph Cowman is the illustrator. He lives in Idaho. I loved this quote from the back flap, "His passion for illustrating was born when he put pencil to paper and discovered the power to create worlds, share what inspires him, and tell a story." His website is JosephCowman.com

And you can find WorthyKids on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Don't forget to click the banner below to read what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about this lovely children's picture book.

Nothing (Nothing Can Separate You From God's Love) by Natalee Creech {WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group Reviews}
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