A book review of Leading Little Ones to God by Marian M. Schoolland
My husband’s parents purchased this book for us when David was a baby, the same book they used with their children. Originally published in 1962, it is doctrinally sound, has small enough lessons for a preschooler, and contains excellent questions for understanding. Each lesson comes with a hymn. Most are unfamiliar, but we’ve simply been reading those as poems.
The title and some people’s comments about this book and others like it remind me of a danger with a devotional book. I don’t know whether I expected to finish the book and have my children immediately express a desire for salvation, but that hasn’t happened! I am reminded that a book doesn’t lead a person to God. God must draw a child to Himself.
The organization is different than other devotional books. It is designed topically rather than chronologically. The first lessons are on the attributes of God, progressing through concepts important for understanding salvation. The final lessons are on Christian virtues, such as giving, serving, and praying. The book would be particularly helpful for parents who have not grown up in church, who may find it difficult explaining the Bible in a way that a young child can understand. In this respect, it is an important book for giving a vocabulary to parents who desire to teach their children about God.
For most of the book, the lessons have gone over Bethel’s head, currently three and a half years old; however, I’ve noticed the last few weeks she’s actually paying attention. She still doesn’t usually get any questions right, even factual ones, but her cognitive ability is growing quickly. I remember great leaps with David about this age, too. David (who will be five this summer) understands the lessons perfectly, and can often answer the questions correctly. It has been a good book for him.
Next I think we’ll be going through Big Truths for Little Kids, which is another book that focuses on doctrine rather than simply Bible stories. We’ve done parts of this book, but never gone systematically through it. I’ll report when we finish.