God Gave Us Love by Lisa Tawn Bergren

December 1, 2009 | By | Add a Comment

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Philippians 2:1-3

Synopsis (complements of Waterbrook): In God Gave Us Love, Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, and the young polar bear begins to ask questions like why must we love others . . . even the seemingly unlovable? Why is it easier to love those we like? Where does love come from? And why does God love her so much?

Grampa Bear addresses each one of Little Cub’s curiosities by explaining the different kinds of love we can share: the love between friends, the love between families, the love between moms and dads, and the love for God. He also assured Little Cub that because of the love God has given her through his Son, there’s nothing she can do to make God love her any more or any less. Through Grampa Bear’s encouraging Little Cub to love others with a “God-sized love,” children will be inspired to love others and to be patient, gentle and kind, so that in every way, they too can demonstrate God’s love.

Review (mine): This is another in the “God Gave Us” series by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Other titles are, God Gave Us You, God Gave Us Two, God Gave us Christmas and God Gave Us Heaven. From the two that I’ve read, I can say that these books are very sweet. I am reminded by the following words from C.S. Lewis, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” It has been a long time since I’ve read such a book intended for a young demographic. Something about it felt good – like getting on a swingset again after a 25 year leave of absence. It probably felt good because I remembered what it was like to be a child. I remembered the eagerness to learn. I recalled times when books sent me on an adventure so grand that it just about left my seemingly endless imagination satisfied. Most of all, I remember the closeness I felt when one of my parents would read to me at night.

This book is about that loving closeness amongst family and friends. It is also about loving those who are different or annoying and harder to love. It seems to me that these are lessons we could all use some help with. Maybe we need it to be broken down so clearly that even a 4-year old would understand. However, I’m not sure if a 4-year old would understand this book. Actually, I don’t even know what the target audience is for this series. If nothing else, a younger child could enjoy the pictures. And, I think it is okay if children don’t understand everything. While we’re at it, I think it is okay that adults don’t understand everything either. It is good to leave some of the holy mystery that requires a childlike faith. Harder to grasp concepts can be throw out there like an oversized pair of pants for a child to grow into. Now, I don’t think it is good for a child to be completely and utterly confused, but the explanatory nature of this book should be enough to shed at least some light on the subject.

I will add that I didn’t think the illustrations were as good as the ones in “God Gave Us Christmas”. (A different person does the artwork in this book.) But, the book teaches good values and goes a ways in explaining where love comes from, who we are to love and why. In regards to whether or not this is a good book, it is probably better to ask a child what he or she thinks about it. But all of us are still children to a certain extent and I thought it was just fine. Whether hearing it from Barney, Grampa Bear or a friend, we all need constant reminders that we are loved.

Rating: Ask young Samantha or little Johnny. Despite their age – actually, because of their age – they are in a much better position to provide a critical review. It is definitely good enough to be worthy of their valuable time and feedback.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. To learn more about or purchase this book at RandomHouse.com, click here.

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