Written by Davis Carman
Illustrated by Alice Ratterree
As a homeschool mom who has been doing this for a while, I have found certain publishers that are my favorite. Things I LOVE that have stood the test of time in our family. Apologia probably tops that list. I really love everything I have used in their product line...Science books, The Ultimate Homeschool Planner and now, A Light for My Path.
A Light for My Path is an alphabet book...but really it is so much more than that. This is probably the most well thought out children's book I have ever read. When you open up the book, you see a two page introduction with LOTS OF SMALL writing...do not skip over that...there is SO MUCH IN THERE and I was AMAZED at everything this sweet little book contains.
So, I said this is an alphabet book...Yes, it is, but it is an alphabet book that helps children fall in love with the Word of God and teaches them foundational truths about what God's Word is...for instance, God's Word, Law, Statutes, Decrees, Commands and Precepts are...Instructive, or Merciful, or Just...So while your child is learning the English Alphabet, every page has one truth about God's Word from Psalm 119. Incredible, isn't it? In the back, there is also the Hebrew Alphabet. Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem intended to teach the Hebrew Alphabet. The last 22 pages have the entire text of Psalm 119 written out with the alphabet at the top...just a note- the spelling of the letter has been written to aid in pronunciation.
One of my favorite things in this book is what the author calls the most important purpose for the book.
See why I LOVE this book!Most importantly, this book is meant to instill in children a love and reverence, or deep respect, for Gods Word, thereby giving children a sincere desire to read the Bible and learn attributes of Gods Word. For example, the T page says that God's Word, law, statutes, decrees, commands, and precepts are True, while the U page uses the word Universal as the description. These words, combined with the simple repetition within the pages, will help your child hear, read, and know God's written words and, consequently, fall in love with the living Word, God's only Son, Jesus Christ.
As you are reading, you begin to notice some things...First, The truth about God's Word and the plant or animal pictured, start with the same letter...so the page that states that God's Word, Law, Statutes, Decrees, Commands and Precepts are... instructive...has a picture of an iguana. The names of each image are not on the page (this gets confusing when you see a hummingbird on the X page, but in the introduction you see it is a "Xantus' Hummingbird)...the text FOCUSES on a truth about Scripture from Psalm 119. When we first picked up the book, I skimmed the introduction pages (don't do that...there is SO MUCH IN THERE) and began reading to my 7 and 11 year old children. So we read A, B, and get to C and I notice something...so I flip back just to be sure I am not crazy (those of you who know me well can claim the 5th here!!!). No, I did see it...so while there is a central plant or animal on the page, starting with the letter B, you can see a smaller image from the page before. You will see a small butterfly on the caterpillar page. This was a very fun surprise and is just one small part of the thought that went into the book. I will say though...we did have a hard time finding two...We THINK we found the jellyfish on the Koala page, but we are CLUELESS about where the urchin is on the vine page...if you see it, we would love to see it too!
A Light for My Path also teaches about Capital and Lower Case Letters, which is important for children just beginning to read. There is a large capital letter and then just below or next to it, the attribute of the Word has a lower case letter.
A Light for My Path has repetition, which I have found that my children LOVE...so the left side of every two page spread begins the same way: God's Word, Law, Statutes, Decrees, Commands and Precepts are...then on the right side, you get the truth. I really LOVED this...having a beginning reader, it was helpful when he wanted to read the book to me. There are a lot of big words in this book for early readers, but having so much of it being repeated was a helpful bonus in my opinion and he was encouraged enough to try! I loved that he is repeating, "God's Word, Law, Statutes, Decrees, Commands, and Precepts are blessings RATHER than, "I do not like them Sam I am"...I mean Sam has his place, but this is for my children's souls.
I really cannot say enough good things about A Light for My Path, but check it out for yourself. There is a link to download a 13 page sample, which includes the introduction, some of the God's Word/Creation pages (Look for the smaller image from the previous letter) and a portion from Psalm 119 from the back. This sample will give you a great feel for the book.
One concern I will bring up, is reading 80 pages to young ones...I think the book is really intended for preschoolers, even though I gave it a larger age range...how on earth will I get them to sit through that...and I will admit...at bedtime, when everyone is tired, getting through 176 verses of Psalm 119 at the end is hard...so every time we read it, we will read a few pages from the back...as many as we feel we can do for that night, marking our stopping place so we can pick it back up next...cause you all know you ARE going to be reading it again...and again...and again...which in the case of A Light for My Path will bring great blessings because we hide God's Word in our hearts, that we might not sin against Him and it is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
One last thing to mention...this book has the sweetest illustrations...My children really loved just looking and them, lingering over them, and trying to observe everything that was in the picture.
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