Series: HeartSmart #1
Published by David C. Cook on September 1, 2015
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
Buy on Amazon
In this first book of the HeartSmart series, preschoolers are invited on a playdate with Emma. Together they learn the Lord’s Prayer and practice “teaching” it to Emma’s favorite teddy bear.
Introducing HeartSmart, a Scripture memory series designed to create opportunities for children to fill their heart with God’s Word. HeartSmart combines key Scriptures with songs, giving parents a spiritual formation path for building a strong foundation of faith.
The entire Lord’s Prayer is included, along with a custom song (free download with access code).
I absolutely love the concept of the HeartSmart series. It is never too early to get children into the Word and never too early for them to commit it to memory.
The book begins with a child named Emma calling you in for a playdate. You visit her room, you meet her teddy bear, you eat lunch, and then, finally, you learn about the Lord’s Prayer. Emma then takes you line by line through the prayer, explaining it as it goes. You then retreat to Emma’s room to teach the prayer to her teddy bear.
I felt like the book was a little slow to start. It’s not until halfway through the book that the Lord’s Prayer is actually introduced. The purpose, I’m sure was to build the context for the prayer and to insert Emma as a Dora-the-Explorer-esque interactive character. Emma talks directly to the reader/listener and asks questions. This is all well and good, but, in my humble opinion, could have been condensed some.
I do very much appreciate that the prayer is broken down line by line with an explanation of each concept. The goal of Scripture memorization should never be rote recitation but active understanding of the text. I wish that it would have gone further with this, taking time to explain the “big words” of the prayer. What does “hallowed” mean? Or a “debtor”? Or “temptation”? Be sure to your child understands what he or she is saying. That’s much more important than getting the exact words right.
The book (and presumably the series) utilizes the English Standard Version (ESV), which is an “essentially literal” translation of Scripture. The ESV, on average, reads at an 8th grade level, which is why you see some of the “big” words in the prayer. For those unfamiliar (or take issue with) the ESV, the Lord’s Prayer is essentially the same in the more popular NIV. The only difference is the use of “this day” instead of “today” and “deliver us from evil” instead of “deliver us from the evil one.”
Let’s Learn about the Lord’s Prayer also chose to include the addendum “For yours is the Kingdom, the power…etc.” This closing phrase has been removed from more recent translations (including the ESV and NIV) because it is not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts. Of course, this does not make the book unscriptural or wrong by including the phrase. I only make note of it in case you, as a parent, are following along in your own Bible—that phrase is not likely to be there.
Overall, I get excited about teaching kids the Bible and I get excited about kids reading books and I get excited about Scripture. That makes me triply excited about this book. The key to memorization is repetition, repetition, repetition. Use this book as a launching pad to develop a system of teaching memory verses to your children. Train them up in the way they should go and, when they get old, it will not depart from them!