I Love You No Matter What was written and illustrated byJ. Rutland and published by Tommy Nelson (2013). In this unique picture book J. Rutland gives the story of the prodigal son a refreshing and creative twist by using feathered friends as the main characters. Children will definitely relate to Little Blue’s troubles when he spills his bowl of birdseed, forgets to clean the nest and then decides to run away. But before he leaves, his father, Daddy Blue, tells him a story about Prince Chirpio and his father, King Puffbelly.

Prince Chirpio also leaves home. On his journey he meets caterpillar, turtle and grasshopper. They are his friends as long as he has birdseed to share with them. When this is gone they are also gone, leaving him to wander into the pigpen. Hungry and lonesome, Prince Chirpio realizes he doesn’t belong here and heads for home. But will his father still love him?

King Puffbelly is waiting with outstretched wings, happy that Prince Chirpio came home. He doesn’t, however, like the choices Prince Chirpio made. But he tells him, “He will love him no matter what” and then prepares a feast of chocolate birdseed pie.

The illustration with Daddy Blue in a vest and tie and Little Blue with his cap turned backwards adds to the reader friendliness of this book. Each child will realize God the Father’s great love for each one of us in spite of the mistakes we make or the path we choose. When we end up in the pigpen in life, God our Father is always waiting to welcome us home.

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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