The Dad Who Never Gave Up – Steph Williams

The Dad Who Never Gave Up by Steph Williams
Also by this author: The Boy Who Shared His Sandwich, The Easter Fix, The Little Man Whose Heart Grew Big, The Dad Who Never Gave Up, The Little Man Whose Heart Grew Big, The Christmas Surprise, Little Me, Big God: Stories about Jesus: Eight True Stories from the Bible
Series: Little Me, Big God
Published by Good Book Company on October 1, 2021
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
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Once there were two brothers. The little brother took his dad's money and spent it all. He ended up so hungry that he wanted to eat pigs' food. Yuck!What happened when the little brother went home to his dad? Find out in this exciting story that Jesus told.
In this engaging retelling of the parable of the prodigal son, young children discover how God is like a dad who never gives up on us, and who is ready to welcome us home with open arms. It's not because we are good. It's because God's love is so big!
Notes for parents at the back help to explain the details of this account from Luke 15:11-32.

This small, staple-bound paperback retells Jesus’s parable of the Prodigal Son. Steph William’s simple, energetic text and colorful pictures convey the core themes of the story in ways that are accessible to young children, emphasizing the younger brother’s selfishness and excess, the father’s joy and delight in his son’s return, and the older brother’s resentment that his father would throw a party for the unfaithful son. The story concludes with the message that we are like the younger brother, but that God pursues and forgives us because of His great love.

At the end of this book, there is a “note for grown-ups” that provides additional context, and the following page reprints the biblical narrative from Luke 15:11-32. Just like the story itself, the note for adults emphasizes our similarity to the younger brother, even though it includes additional details about how the character of the older brother reflects self-righteous religious leaders from Jesus’s day. I think it is a lost opportunity for this book to not highlight the way that the older brother reflects the self-righteousness that Christians often feel when they have followed the rules and others have not. I wish that Williams had included a more direct message about how God lavishes His grace and love on everyone, regardless whether they are tempted towards rebellious excess or rule-following pride.

The Dad Who Never Gave Up is still a great resource for Christian families, churches, and church-run preschools. It conveys key biblical truths in ways that young children can relate to and understand, and it can also appeal to older siblings and kids who would think that they are too old for picture books, because the text and illustrations convey the story in such a vivid and engaging way. However, I would encourage parents or teachers to create their own follow-up discussion about ways that we are like the older brother, even though the book does not address it.