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For the very youngest

01 November 2013

Claire Wood tries out some prayer-books with her children

Quiet moment: an illustration by Angelo Ruta from Our Father by Sophie Piper (Lion, £6.99 (£6.30); 978-0-7459-6381-5)

Quiet moment: an illustration by Angelo Ruta from Our Father by Sophie Piper (Lion, £6.99 (£6.30); 978-0-7459-6381-5)

Juliet David
Mike Byrne, illustrator

Candle Books, £4.99                                                                                       (978-1-85985-308-5)   
Church Times Bookshop £4.50 (Use code CT273)

Juliet David
Mike Byrne, illustrator

Candle Books, £4.99                                                                                       (978-1-85985-338-2)   
Church Times Bookshop £4.50 (Use code CT273)

Thank you
Juliet David
Mike Byrne, illustrator

Candle Books, £4.99                                                                                       (978-1-85985-309-2)   
Church Times Bookshop £4.50 (Use code CT273)

My Little Prayers
Karen Williamson
Amanda Enright, illustrator

Candle Books, £4.99                                                                                        (978-1-85985-869-1)   
Church Times Bookshop £4.50 (Use code CT273)

A Treasury of Prayers for Now and Always
Mary Joslin
Karen Forrester, illustrator

Lion £9.99                                                                                               (978-0-7459-6347-1)   
Church Times Bookshop £9 (Use code CT273)

SORRY, Please, and Thank You are small, very sturdy board books for younger children aged about two to four (although a four-year-old might get bored more quickly, as they have only one sentence per page). They help children to understand the importance of saying "Please," "Sorry," and "Thank you" to God. My daughter April (aged three) liked the fact that they were small enough to hold in her hand, and the colours were bright enough to hold her interest.

Sorry was her particular favourite, and she enjoyed discussing the pictures. When I asked why the boys looked sad on one page, April said that it was because they weren't sharing, and confirmed that she gives things to everyone and doesn't find it hard to share.

She read one story differently from me, because she said that the girl should say sorry to the little boy because she didn't share her ball rather than the boy having to say sorry for sticking his tongue out, which I thought was interesting. It led to a discussion on why we should say sorry.

In Please, April recognised the little girl as having "prayer hands" on one page; and in one picture that depicted a family she linked each person in the picture to her own family (Mummy, Daddy, her, and her big brother, Raphy).

With the story that depicts a doctor, April remembered having chicken pox, and said that she felt sad until her spots had gone; she recognised the doctor in the story because of his stethoscope.

We had been to the shops on the day that we read the book, and she had helped me to find things; so she enjoyed looking at the picture of the little girl helping her mummy to put things in the trolley.

April loved seeing the pet in the family picture in Thank You, and wondered where the pooper-scooper bags were, in the picture of the little boy taking the dog for a walk in the park.

One picture showed puddles on a rainy day. April loves splashing in puddles and wearing her wellies, whatever the weather; so she really enjoyed looking at this picture.

In My Little Prayers, all the prayers are written in child-friendly language, and deal with things that young children are familiar with. Raphy (aged five) related to many of these prayers. The illustrations prompted a number of talking points, from the dog and little boy in the park to the safari animals - this was one of his favourites because he loves animals.

Raphy enjoyed reading the prayer about the way we look - he has just been painting a self-portrait in school, and they have been using mirrors to have a close look at their eye and hair colour; so he liked seeing the little girl in the illustration doing the same thing.

April recognised Noah's ark, because she has a similar toy, and she remembered that we tried to look for a rainbow last time it was raining, but we had no luck. She could relate to the simple pictures.

I really enjoyed reading the beautiful prayers in A Treasury of Prayers for Now and Always, but the language was a little too grown-up for Raphy and April. We were awake early enough to hear the birds singing the other morning, however; so I read the "Heaven's Music" prayer, and Raphy asked if the birds' tweeting really was heaven's music.

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