Jul 5, 2019

Lovely New Book from Kloria Press (A Review of Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart)

Review by Anna Mussmann

I love what Kloria Press does. Each of their books takes a theologically rich hymn and illustrates it for children. What makes these volumes special, though, is the way the illustrations tell an independent story that complements the hymn, demonstrating its relationship to the life of the Christian. The format allows a simple picture book to become surprisingly deep. 

Kloria Press has produced a number of board books, but it's their larger picture books--like this new one--that have the most scope for story. They also might be described as more daring in their themes, presenting events and imagery atypical of the kind of religious books for children you usually find in bookstores. 

Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart is a hymn that looks to Christ for both earthly comfort and for rest after death. Kelly Schumacher has illustrated it to show us a young girl who becomes ill--cancer is suggested--and goes to join her Savior. Her family is shown mourning her, and, later, reuniting in Heaven. 

The death of a child is not something one finds in many picture books. Yet how can children understand the need for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross--and His resurrection--if we do not talk about death? A book like this allows parents to present death in a Christian context, to answer a child’s questions, and to point towards the hope we all share. Because the text is limited to the words of the hymn, parents can easily adapt the discussion to the needs and understanding of their own children.

I envision many readers finding the loveliness of these illustrations comforting. They are lovely. Ms. Schumacher's heartfelt art is special. Yet--and this is probably just me--some of the spreads seem to fall on the pretty/romantic side of the spectrum. I wonder if some boys would consider them "girly" (although it's also true that children are drawn to both beauty and prettiness). I would also quibble that it would have been nice to see a Jesus who looked less blondly European, and that it's preferable to avoid portraying angels as women and children. Mightn’t the latter reinforce the popular misconception that people become angels after death? Or that angels are female? 

Again, though, this is a thoughtfully executed book with a wonderful concept. It takes children seriously by offering them historic hymns without adulteration or simplified explanation. I recommend checking it out.


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After graduating from Concordia Wisconsin, Anna taught in Lutheran schools for several years and became so enthusiastic about Classical Education that she will talk about it to whomever will listen. She is a big fan of Jane Austen, dark chocolate, and the Oxford comma. Anna and her husband live in Pennsylvania with their two small children. Anna's work can also be found in The Federalist.

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