Gus Loses His Grip (Good News for Little Hearts)

Gus Loses His Grip
Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much by Jocelyn Flanders
Also by this author: Henry Says Good-bye: When You Are Sad, Tori Comes Out of Her Shell: When You Are Lonely
Series: Good News for Little Hearts
Published by New Growth Press on September 2019
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
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Gus, a raccoon who loves all things sweet, learns what happens when you want something too much. After Gus gets caught taking candy from the store, Papa reminds him that temptation might be strong for us, but it s not too strong for Jesus. Both Gus and Papa can ask Jesus for help when they want something too much.

Learning emotional control can be one of the most difficult things about early childhood (or late childhood…or adolescence…or adulthood). For little ones engaging with these emotions and these heart issues for the very first time, it can be a confusing and troubling experience.

Story, especially for our little ones, becomes a way to experience and understand certain experiences without needing to be in the middle of them. We learn how to respond to anger or anxiety or failure by seeing it modeled in other people—in our life stories—or in fictional characters. Children’s actions and responses are often modeled by the media they consume.

As such, it becomes very important to teach and model appropriate emotional reactions to our children. To help with this, the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation has partnered with New Growth Press to develop and publish a series of children’s books meant to introduce such topics. The end result is Good News for Little Hearts, written by Jocelyn Flenders and illustrated by Joe Hox.

Gus Loses His Grip

Gus Loses His Grip is about when you want something too much—particularly sweets. Gus loves berries. He loves candy. He loves anything with sugar. And once he starts, he has a hard time stopping. He eats all his Easter candy almost as soon as he gets it and when Mr. Hogster says he can have a piece of candy from his store for free, Gus fills his pockets full.

When Gus’s family finds out, Papa makes him return all the candy and takes him out for some father-son time. Papa shares a Bible verse with Gus “Who will free me from being gripped by sin? Thank God the answer is Jesus!” Together, they learn that when Jesus holds us, we learn to hold on to other things more loosely.


Control is difficult to children—or, rather, humans. We want the very best things all the time whenever we want them. Gus is no different. Sweets are good. But too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. Boundaries are important. Gus Loses His Grip takes a common childhood obsession and helps our little ones remember that God teaches us to be in control of ourselves.

Like the rest of the series, the storytelling is okay. The word choice and story structure is sometimes awkward and it doesn’t always flow. The lesson in this one is a bit more straightforward and the parenting guide at the end gives parents resources to control what it calls the “I wantsies.”