3 out of 4 stars
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Mervin is the youngest mouse in his family that lives in a church basement. One Sunday, while exploring the building, he discovers a large room full of singing, hand clapping, and feet tapping that instilled a feeling of peace in him. Full of joy and intrigue, he rushes home. The next day, after learning the church may be destroyed, Mervin’s mom explains to him what a church is and that he should pray for God’s help to save his home.
Mervin the Church Mouse Learns to Pray by Brynda Lattimore is a cute children’s book focused around trusting God’s ultimate plan. Readers are initiated into the concept of prayer, God working in mysterious ways and faith in general. Readers follow Mervin as he applies his newfound knowledge about prayer and attempts to ask God to save his home.
This book was definitely a cute way to introduce younger readers to the concept of prayer and faith in the Lord’s ultimate plan. I enjoyed the way that the author uses anthropomorphism in the form of the proverbial church mouse to tell her tale. What I liked the most, however, were the great colours, crisp images and attention to detail in the illustrations. The key to an effective children’s book, in my humble opinion, is to ensure the reader remains engaged. This book definitely delivers in this regard.
There were a couple of items, however, that bothered me about this book. First, I struggled to pinpoint the targeted demographic for this story. The illustrations lead me to believe that a preschool age is the most likely demographic, but the concepts of depression and the loss of one’s home seemed to be a bit advanced for that age. Finally, and what I disliked the most about this book, were that some passages were awkwardly written Although (usually) technically correct, I sometimes had to read a phrase twice to ensure that I was reading it properly. For example, tricky phrases like, "...knowing that, that day was..." may trip up younger readers who are just beginning to stretch their legs into the literary world.
For the well delivered message of prayer and faith in such a beautifully presented tale, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I took off one star due to the ambiguity in the targeted audience and some of the awkward passages. Despite this, I would definitely recommend Mervin the Church Mouse Learns to Pray to parents or Sunday school teachers of young children. If you aren’t religious at all, this book won’t be for you.
Mervin the Church Mouse Learns to Pray
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