Friday, February 18, 2011

God Gave Us The World By Lisa Tawn Bergren art by Laura J. Bryant

Oh my! The beautiful artwork with it's pastels and beautiful purple skies was a blessed sight to behold. I enjoyed reading the story which was about how we are all different. Mama Bear was teaching her cubs that though there are many bears these bears live in different places and enjoy different things - though they are all bears. The story does give God credit for the world - as Mama Bear shares that God created the world.
My absolute favorite pages were halfway through the book (the book is not paginated). A cub asks, "Why not make us all the same?""We're not all the same on the inside, are we? The answer with beautiful illustrations and fonts typified in the adjective perfectly exude joy and childlike fun. The explanation is this: Some of us are quiet, others LOUD! Some of us like to move fast, and others take their t-i-m-e. I think it's fun that God made us all bears, but all special too." Super cute drawings.

On a less positive note, I did have a few questions regarding storyline. There was mention of Grandpa, Grandma and Mama Bear. However, there was not a single mention of a Papa Bear though there was a bear wearing a pink striped scarf that seemed to straggle behind the lead bear who was clearly Mama Bear.

Since this book was marketed for the Christian market, I was disappointed by the fact that there was no Scripture references to be found as well as no reference to Christianity - just to God, which many religions and cultures worship a god of some sort. It would have been refreshing to hear Scripture from Genesis, telling of Creation. Some may feel this is nit picking at a beautifully illustrated child's book. However, this book could very well have been marketed in the secular market and do very well if the author left the word God in. Not that I am advocating that, however, as a reviewer of Christian books, I was disappointed that there was no mention of Jesus or Scripture.

Lastly, the back of the book caught my eye. I quote, "This adorable story offers young children who are discovering their place in God's big world an opportunity to learn about the wonder of diversity, the gift of creativity, the importance of caring for His gifts, and how each child - each creation- is special to God."

Sounds quite admirable. However, the word 'diversity' is what caught my eye. The word diversity as defined below is not the correct word in my opinion in a book about nature, animals and plant species. Diversity solely applies to humans. Biodiversity would have been the correct choice.

Human diversity: The biological, psychological, social, and cultural differences among people that affect the way their needs are expressed and satisfied.
Biodiversity: –noun, diversity among and within plant and animal species in an environment.

As Christians, we seek unity. Why would we celebrate our difference as we all know we are made in God's image. Yes, we are all parts of one Body but we are all seeking the same God of the Bible and living according to His Word. And yes, we are all God's creation, but we are not all His children. And so to encourage diversity among God's people really is not biblical.

I did not look up the author's other books so it may be wise before a parent purchases one of Ms. Bergren's books to review her other books. If the traditional family is upheld and celebrated among the bear family then I would suggest reading with your children as a launching pad for deeper Scripture study on Creation, how special and unique and truly loved by God each child is, as well as how wonderfully amazing God's Creation is. 

This book did give me the adult reader a blessing with the beautiful artwork. It did attempt to create a framework for dialogue about God. It just fell far short for me as a born again Christian who saw a teaching opportunity fail because the author didn't go full bore into Christianity with her audience. There may have been a mixed message. Buyer beware.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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