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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Book Review: Yes, Dear, There Really is a Devil

Authors: Chris Rader & Johnnie Coley
Publication: Hopkins Publishing, 2015
Genre: Juvenile Non-fiction, Spiritual Warfare

First Lines:

Hello, my dear soldier, today’s a great day
Beware of the devil, stay out of his way

Goodreads Description:
(as submitted by the primary author)

The idea for this book came while trying to explain the reality of the devil to my four year old son. After looking around for a book and not finding what I was looking for, I decided to put something together myself. After putting thoughts down on paper and drawing stick figures, I was so very blessed to meet a talented artist named Erin McKay and a devoted Christian author named Johnnie Coley, who helped me move forward with my ideas. God has designed this book to be a blessing for you, the reader and all children. To God be the Glory!

My Review:

In terms of the paper quality, illustrations and presentation, this book has a very 1960s/1970s feel. You probably get that sense yourself when you look at the book cover accompanying this post.

Essentially a rhyming picture book of warnings and admonitions, the ‘story’ is told in imperfect rhyme. Each of ten pages of text includes a couplet and a relevant passage of scripture. Illustrations make up the facing pages. Sometimes the non-biblical writing fails – if you consider the first lines for example, is it really a great day if you have to be on your guard all the time? Sounds like a recipe for anxiety to me! I’m not in disagreement with the fact that we (and children) need to beware of the devil and that we need to rejoice in each day that the Lord has made, but if you just read the two lines together, they do seem like an oxymoron.

From what I’ve been able to discern about Hopkins Publishing, they are a self-publishing company or vanity publisher. I am not sure if any editing or proofreading is provided, but there are a few errors that should have been caught. In the dedication we have “My greatest dedication is to God, who’s Word…” Of course, it is the “who’s” that is incorrect; it should be “whose.” “Foreward” should be “Foreword” and on this page I am not sure what is meant by “Sour as if no one exists in the sky…” unless Johnnie meant “soar”…? Bless her heart.

In “A Note to Caregivers,” the author suggests printing out the free armor of God coloring sheet. I assume that she is referring to the small image to the right of this statement, which is also located at the centre of the page, making it difficult to photocopy without stretching the spine. This image could have been enlarged and placed on the back page, which only has on it a little writing and an ISBN.

One final thing that concerns me a bit is the confusion children may feel over the devil portrayed as a lion. While it is biblical, yes, before too long these same children will likely be introduced to Aslan in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. This is just a thought but perhaps there should be a further item in the note to caregivers to help parents distinguish the devil as a lion from Jesus, the Lion of Judah.

The book does fill a gap in the literature for children. To the best of my knowledge, there is little else available on the subject for the 4-7- year-old age group. Therefore, I hope this review gives the authors something to think about when doing a reprint (assuming Hopkins is not already print-on-demand).

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

I received this book free through the BookCrash program in exchange for my honest review.

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