WonderFull Will Leave You in Full Wonder of God!
When I first saw the cover of Marty Machowski’s forthcoming book WonderFull: Ancient Psalms Ever New, I said to myself, “Oh man, I know I’m going to like this one!”
After having the privilege of reviewing the book, I knew I had been right.
The beautiful illustrations by Andy McQuire immediately reminded me of his stellar artwork in Machowski’s TheOlogy, which is one of my top favorite theological resources that I keep reading. (Yes, even as a seminary graduate and a single adult with no kids. It’s that good.)
Here’s a general breakdown of the book, including why I think this is easily one of the top children’s books in 2020.
Oliver’s Story – I love how Machowski includes a story element into his works like Prepare Him Room (an Advent family devotional) and TheOlogy. He does it again in WonderFull, which makes the book that much more powerful and relatable for kids. I don’t want to give away too much of the story element because I desperately want you to read it for yourself! All I can say is that it had me with tears in my eyes.
An Introduction to the Psalms – The book starts with a helpful introduction to the psalms. It explains how the Book of Psalms leads us in worship, gives us words to pray, and points to Christ. I firmly believe children should be taught the unity of Scripture, how verses relate to other passages in the Bible, and how it applies to our lives. WonderFull delivered that in the same careful manner as you might expect from The Gospel Story Bible. I’ve always appreciated how Machowski handles difficult texts, so I expected nothing less in this trustworthy resource.
The Psalms in 5 Books – All 150 psalms are organized into five books, keeping in line with how they’re grouped in the Bible. You get just the right bite-sized segment of each psalm with the important themes and application, which is extremely doable for young readers. The “A Closer Look” section provides thought-provoking questions that parents or adults could use to walk with children through this entire book of the Bible. WonderFull helps kids see how they can use the Book of Psalms to give words to their prayers while giving them a gospel-centered perspective of the book. I don’t know a single children’s resource on the Book of Psalms that does this. For those who are searching for material that is theologically sound and Christ-centered, look no further.
Going Deeper – In the back of WonderFull is a section called “Going Deeper.” It suggests a study of twenty-five Psalms, which would make for a good family devotional or be useful in a church setting. The whole book is a rich discipleship tool that I highly recommend. The only thing I could think of that would strengthen WonderFull would be a companion journal. Machowski encourages kids to keep their own journal, but I would have loved to have seen a companion journal for younger disciples or those who aren’t quite in the practice of keeping a journal.
In conclusion, WonderFull does a fantastic job connecting kids’ hearts and minds in the worship of God. Mid-to-upper elementary school-aged kids (ages seven and up) are likely to benefit from the book more, especially with the potential to use it devotionally or in discipleship. But it is sure to be enjoyed by all ages. Children will be challenged to share what they are learning about God with others, which is another reason I encourage you to check out this resource (and others) published by New Growth Press. WonderFull will release next week (September 28, 2020), so take the opportunity to grab it when it comes out. With the holidays coming upon us shortly, this is sure to make a great gift that will keep on giving. You can also check out my previous blog post on some other resources by Machowski that have also been favorites of mine.
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