Name of Book: Thank You, God
Author: J. Bradley Wigger
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Audience: 3-8 years
Summary: A young girl gives thanks throughout the day for the gifts that God has given.
Literary elements at work in the story: There is no real narrative to this book, aside from the story of God’s graciousness that emerges from the young protagonist’s list of the things for which she is thankful and from Jago’s illustrations of a large family lovingly interacting with one another. Each two-page spread begins with the words “Thank you, God, for …” and these words form a litany of gratitude.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The illustrator has created characters that might have come out of the dollhouse family bin in a preschool play center. The mother is African American; the father is Caucasian; the black grandfather walks with a cane; and the children are of many hues. It is almost as if a child has arranged this biracial and multi-generational family in various vignettes throughout the book – at the beach, around a camp fire, gathered to eat at the kitchen table, etc. Their charmingly wooden poses and expressions do not detract from the joyous message of thanks which shines out from each page.
Theological conversation partners: In a secular culture where most children’s books about thanksgiving center on anxious turkeys or small woodland creatures recreating the Plymoth Rock story, it is a rare treat to encounter one which focuses on God’s gifts to us. Rarer still is a children’s book about gratitude which does not lecture about how we should be grateful, but instead just shows a young child listing the ways in which she has encountered a loving God through the world around her. The most obvious use of Thank You, God would be at Thanksgiving, but this book would be a wonderful companion to any of the psalms of thanksgiving as well. It might be interesting to pair David the shepherd from Psalm 8 sitting on a nighttime hillside, listing God’s creations, with the young girl in this book, listing all the things for which she is grateful.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Can you follow the girl with the red dress and blue polka-dots all the way through this story?
- For what things is she thankful?
- Why do you think that the girl says “thank you, God” so many times during the day?
- How do you imagine that she says “thank you”? Does she sometimes shout? Does she whisper? Does she sing?
- What things might you list if you were going to say “thank you” to God today?
- I wonder if you could say a thank-you prayer to God throughout the day today?
This review is written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Beth Lyon-Suhring, Director of Christian Education at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Suffolk, VA.
Thank You, God by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.