In the picture book Chrissie’s Shell written by Brooke Keith, illustrated by Mary Bausman and published by Warner Press Kids, 2010, the words flow right along with the child-friendly illustrations. The first page with its large tree trunk, butterflies and bees welcomes you into the forest world of Chrissie, the turtle. She is definitely sad on this page but on the final page, her eyes are closed and she’s sleeping peacefully.

Chrissie, who thinks she is nothing but an empty shell, longs to be a real someone like the speedy field mouse, the scampering squirrel or the strong hedgehog. Dreaming harder doesn’t make this happen. Even when she is awakened by the thud of an acorn or rain drops, she still feels empty. In her slow, plodding way she rescues an injured lizard and with her super diving skills she recovers a lost bird egg.

In spite of these accomplishments she tells God she is nobody and asks Him to make her into a bear or a bunny. I give these particular illustrations ten smiles. God knows best and tells her to look into the pond. In the glistening starlight she discovers God did make her smart and wonderful and He planned it that way.

A full bucket or five stars is what Chrissie’s Shell deserves for the way it handles a time-honored theme, God loves you just the way you are. Children will want to read it again and again as will adults. Don’t miss the poem at the beginning and the scripture at the end.

Carol Green, a graduate of Northwestern, is married and the mother of three adult children. Her five grandchildren affectionately call her “Grams cracker.”

She is the published author of many poems for both adults and children; three coloring books: God Gave Me Five, ABC Fun Book, and Color God’s World Bright; and the picture book: My Mom Loves Me.

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