Friday, February 19, 2010

A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists

As readers of this blog know, I like lists. Numbered points are easier for me to grasp. The information is delivered in neat little bite-sized pieces rather than large chunks. So despite being child-free, I was interested in reviewing Michelle LaRowe’s A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists, and requested a copy through Graf-Martin Communications.

This is going to be a mixed review.

The concept of this book is an excellent one. A mom or mother-to-be might have little time in which to read entire chapters of a book, but that doesn’t matter here – she can pick up this book, read a list in five or ten minutes and put it down until the next time. There are tables, checklists and charts as well as lists. It’s in a very user-friendly style.

Plus, many of the lists took a brisk, stripped-down, just-the-facts approach. It made me want to put together a similar book for busy writers.

There’s also plenty of good information in the book – my favorites were the sections on what to buy and what not to buy. Parents-to-be are often faced with a huge and perhaps confusing array of devices, items and supposed necessities for the baby, so a book which cut through the chaff might be helpful. I also like the comparison of costs between buying baby food and simply making one’s own from strained peas and so on.

On the other hand, I knew before requesting this that the book would be Christian-oriented. It has many, many verses from the bible, some of which are repeated, and that does narrow the book’s audience down somewhat. Until the end I thought it was one I could recommend to only a few of my friends, but what made it a book I could recommend to no one were the suggestions of teaching children to proselytize to their little friends.

Role-play how to share the gospel with kids who have different beliefs and lifestyles than you. Your children can tell others: “Jesus loves you.” (pg. 246)

I wonder why those kids’ beliefs don’t deserve as much respect as the author’s. This is defended on the grounds that love is better than tolerance. But I would hope that the author's definition of love recognizes the right of other parents to decide who’s preaching to their children.

Finally, I think the author’s position on her religion should have been at least hinted at in the book description, cover copy or even title. Why not call it A Mom’s Ultimate Book of EvangeLists?

This book is available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications. It is a trade paperback, $13.99, 355 pages.


Anonymous said...

you do realize Baker and Revell are christian publishing houses?

Anonymous said...

Imposing one values on others is neither love nor tolerant. Such messages would be a turn off for me. Certainly not a book I will buy when I have kids.

Marian Perera said...

Yes, but "Christian" doesn't necessarily equal "teach your children to pull a Jack Chick conversion routine with other people's kids".

I've reviewed books from Thomas Nelson for months now and haven't come across anything similar.

Marian Perera said...

Ralfast - agreed. And I found it especially distasteful that the author was targeting other people's children (through her kids).

You want everyone to belong to your religion, author? The honest thing to do would be to approach these kids' parents, and if they said "no thanks", then you'd know their children were off-limits.

Mary Witzl said...

Imagine the irritation the author would justifiably feel if someone tried to convert her kids to a different religion. Ay ay ay.

Loved your last line!

Anonymous said...

I second what Mary said.

Would be especially funny if the kids' friends came from a pagan background. Then they could shoot back, "Isis loves you, too!"

Mystica said...

Like the pun!

writtenwyrdd said...

I hate how new blogger keeps eating my comments.

My first thought was that this was a christian publisher. But that doesn't excuse teaching kids that they shouldn't respect the beliefs of others. *eye roll*

Marian Perera said...

Mary - Thanks. :) And imagine what the author might feel if the other person succeeded. Maybe her kids would prefer being Buddhist or Pagan - at least that way, they would not be under any compulsion to preach to others.

Tasha - If the kids had any friends left. Treating others primarily as conversion targets is a good way to reduce one's social circle to only like-minded people.

That's one reason I like my landlady very much. She's devoutly Christian, but she has never tried to convert me. And that's not a lack of love on her part. That's having respect for another person's experience (I'm already aware of Christianity) and free will (if I want to know more, I'll ask).

Marian Perera said...

Writtenwyrdd : Exactly. I was prepared for a pro-Christian publication, but training your children to preach to other kids? If they do that in school, you could be called in for a little discussion with the principal.

Mystica : Thanks!