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I'd Choose You by John Trent Christian Children's Book Review

Carolyn loves writing about children's literature for library, preschool, or home settings. She has a BA in English Lit from BYU.

I'd Choose You by John Trent and Judy Love, a book about giving children unconditional love

I'd Choose You by John Trent and Judy Love, a book about giving children unconditional love

Words of Affirmation From Parents to Children

I'd Choose You by John Trent, PhD. (Word Publishing, 1994) is a children's picture book that is as much for parents as it is for children. This lesser-known title was published in the Christian book market, but it widely available in bookstores and libraries. The main idea of this book is the power parents have to affirm and build up their children.

Most parents, at one time or another, have had the painful experience of watching their children be rejected by their peers or picked last for the team. These experiences which can be so painful for kids are an unfortunate reality of growing up. As parents we can't prevent our kids from having these experiences, but we can affirm their place in their families, letting them know just how much we love them.

Little Norbert the Elephant had a very bad day at school. He was picked last for the team, had to sit alone on the roller coaster (they ride roller coasters instead of buses in Norbert's school), and Norbert was embarrassed by Heidi the Hippo. But Norbert's mom knows just what to say to help her child feel loved and comforted.

John Trent uses I'd Choose You to teach parents how to give their children "The Blessing". As Trent describes in the "A Note to Parents on Blessing Your Children", the blessing contains 5 key elements:

  1. Appropriate, meaningful touch (a big, loving hug)
  2. Spoken words of affirmation
  3. Attaching high value to someone
  4. Picturing a special future for your kids
  5. Making a genuine commitment to include the blessing as part of their lives.

Trent's book uses a simple story that kids and most adults can relate to. The story's animal characters are appealingly drawn doing silly things. Illustrator Judy Love uses a modern picture book style to show humorous details like Norbert's Mommy's hausfrau dress, or the elephant door knocker on the door of Norbert's house, or peas flying toward the reader when Heidi the Hippo sends the cafeteria tray flying. Each scenario depicted is just a little bit silly, which keeps the mood of the story light. For example, Florence the Flamingo twirls gracefully on a frozen pond, while an onlooking giraffe lays with his legs splayed on the ice.

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The text of this story is a little heavy-handed in getting its message across, but where this book isn't great literature, it still has an excellent message that I need to hear often in my parenting journey. This message is so worthwhile that I'm willing to admit that it's not great children's literature but still valuable for other reasons.

I find that my toddler responds quite positively to this story, and though he is not a naturally affectionate child, this book helps him to open up to the idea of a big hug. I enjoy reading this book to him, and remind him that I'd Choose Him, too. The story and the hugs always put a big smile on his face, which makes me feel like a good parent! I'd choose I'd Choose You by John Trent for lap reading or bedtime reading.

The Blessing, an Old Testament Concept

The principle of The Blessing comes from the Old Testament, as Trent describes in his foreward to parents. The concept of reinforcing a child's worth transcends religion, however, so if you are religiously unaffiliated or not a Christian, I would still check this book out.

If you are a caregiver in a public non-religious environment, please be advised that this book refers to God within the text of the story, and that it is a faith-based title.

(Excerpt from I'd Choose You)

"And if I could honor one child who has an exciting and wonderful future...and if I could teach him each day that he is God's special gift, especially on those days when he doesn't get picked...Guess which one I'd choose every time?

I'd choose YOU!"

Buy I'd Choose You and The Blessing Online

Thematic Elements

  • parental love
  • self esteem
  • bad day
  • hugs
  • believing in your kids
  • affirmation
  • elephants
  • The Blessing
  • I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
  • I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak
  • So Much by Trish Cooke

© 2008 Carolyn Augustine

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