Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!

Even though I don't have kids in the target age for this book, the illustration on the cover was just so cute... and it includes a stuffed monkey.  So I had to check this book out.

My hope was to bring it to church and borrow a toddler or two.  However, the timing was not the best, as I spent a chunk of time here lately traveling to North Dakota for my baby brother's wedding.

So, I read it to all of my kids instead.  Yeah.  The teen (or almost teen) boys were not impressed with their breakfast-time read-aloud on THAT day.

From the publisher:
In Rufus and Ryan Go to Church!, four-year-old Ryan explains to his stuffed monkey, Rufus, what is happening as they attend church on Sunday morning. He lets Rufus know when it’s time to sing and to pray and to be quiet. Author Kathleen Bostrom brings a delightfully light touch to the text as she provides an introduction to an experience that most children are exposed to long before they understand why. And children everywhere will relate to the idea of explaining their surroundings to their favorite companions as they go about their daily activities.
This is just one of the first titles in a new series of inspirational books for preschoolers.
Collectively, from my teens, the consensus was that this book is never going to qualify as classic literature, but the pictures are cute.  I asked them what they would think about reading the book aloud to a certain 3-year-old we know, and they were slightly more enthusiastic.

"He'd love the illustrations.  I think he'd think it was fun to see how Ryan's church and his church are the same and how they are different.  Of course, he'd have to want to have a story read to him, because he isn't going to sit still no matter what if he doesn't want a story."

The 9- and 7-year-olds were far more enthusiastic about the book, as long as I made it clear that they are "definitely older than the intended audience, Mom."  (Do they sound like their mother reviews a lot of books?  Seriously, what kind of kid SAYS something like that??)

Richard (9) adores monkeys, so he was a big fan of the book and he thinks we should buy more (Rufus and Ryan Say Their Prayers is also out, with more planned).  "To give to church, of course!" he added.  Trina thought this would be a fun way to help "little kids" learn more about church, but she didn't think this book necessarily was good for preparing kids to attend our church.

I would agree with her on that.  It is a really cute book, and I'd love to see the Prayers one, but I was left wondering a bit just who the intended audience for this book really was. I think it could be really great for a toddler (ages 2-5 is the target audience!) who will be attending a new church -- whether because of a move, or a visit to Grandma, or something similar.

There were some fantastic suggestions for introducing a child to church included in a document for reviewers.  One tip I really liked:
Take home a worship bulletin and go through the service at home. Show your child that there are times to sit, to stand (and in some places, to kneel), to sing, to pray, and to listen. If the Lord’s Prayer is used, write down the words and let your child practice at home. Prepare offering envelopes and let your child put money in the envelope, and explain why the offering is important.
I am going to remember that one for my bigger kids too, for when we are visiting other churches. Ours is pretty relaxed, and standing, sitting, etc., are very easy to figure out.  Not a big help for the more liturgy-based services we attend elsewhere!

I will be giving my copy of this book to our children's ministry.  And I have another one to give away!  US or Canada only, please!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Tiffany Craun said...

I would be reading this to my daughter, but I may consider giving it to our church.

Sara R said...

I'd be keeping it to read to my son when he's old enough