Also by this author: Held: 31 Biblical Reflections on God's Comfort and Care in the Sorrow of Miscarriage, What Are Hands For?, How Do We Know Christianity Is Really True?, What Happens When We Die?, Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?
Series: Training Young Hearts #2
Published by Good Book Company on September 1, 2023
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
Buy on Amazon
Practical help for parents raising kids on the foundation of the gospel.
Fun lift-the-flap board book that motivates small children to use their mouths in a Christ-like way.
This helpful and engaging training tool will help parents to teach their kids that God didn’t make their mouths for behaviours like biting or lying, but for positive actions like giving kisses, chewing, singing, asking for forgiveness and telling the truth.
Not only will children be encouraged to follow Jesus’ example, but they’ll also be reassured that he loves us no matter what we do. He can forgive us when we fail and help us to change.
This book is part of a series called Training Young Hearts that addresses the attitudes of the heart that underpin behavior and explains how the gospel of grace enables us to change. Parents, teachers, and other loved ones can refer back to these resources when specific behaviours need both to be corrected and to be connected to forgiveness, grace and growth.
In this board book, Abbey Wedgeworth teaches kids about what God made our mouths for, including talking, eating, and smiling. Then she turns towards what we shouldn’t do with our mouths, such as biting, saying hurtful words, and telling lies. She introduces Jesus after that, saying that he was also a child once, that he always told the truth and loved others, and that he used his mouth to agree to God’s plan of redemption, through which God forgives us for every wrong thing we do. The remainder of the book teaches that when we trust in Jesus, we can receive forgiveness for our sins, grow with the help of the Holy Spirit, and sing praises to God.
Abbey Wedgeworth expresses all of this in very simple, child-friendly terms, and the illustrations from Emma Randall are colorful, expressive, and fun. Every single page has a lift-the-flap component, and these work very well. The flaps come up easily, and the material is thick enough to survive many repeated readings, as long as a child isn’t too rough with them. The flaps aren’t just a kid-friendly gimmick, either. The illustrations and writing underneath the flaps are an integral part of the book, and I really like the design. The downside of this, however, is that the other Training Young Hearts book published so far is extremely similar. Even though the pictures are different, the books follow the same formula so closely that they feel somewhat redundant.
What Are Mouths For? can help children see the difference between positive and harmful choices, and many parents will find this helpful, since it gives them a concrete way to engage their children with the topic instead of just giving verbal instruction. However, I would encourage parental discernment with using this, since the book’s broad message can attribute sin to behaviors that are simply childish. For example, when I was a small child, a distant cousin bit me while we were pretending to be snapping turtles. I got really upset, but he had no intent to hurt me and just got carried away with make-believe. This book doesn’t differentiate between moments like that and choices that flow from bad motives, and even though I appreciate this book’s message about gospel grace, I hope that parents will consider that limitation when using this teaching tool.