Icky, Sticky, Hairy Scary Bible Stories by Jonathan Schkade

■Title: Icky, Sticky, Hairy Scary Bible Stories
■Author: Jonathan Schkade
■Illustrator: Tuesday Mourning
■ISBN: 978-0758626714
■SRP: $14.99
■Reviewed By: Cheryl Malandrinos

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

The fact is: not all the stories in the Bible are nice. Some are scary. Some are messy. Some involve hairy guys or guys without any hair. In this zany and fun poetry collection, children learn all about God’s love and how He is willing to do anything to “lift us up and set us free.”

I’ve probably been teaching Sunday school for close to twenty years now. I can’t say I’m always the most entertaining or inventive teacher, but I know the kids are learning. The group I have at church now runs from ages five to thirteen. The challenge is in putting together lessons that span these ages. And honestly, teaching the same stories the same way over and again isn’t that fun.

Icky, Sticky, Hairy Scary Bible Stories by Jonathan Schkade has helped me share more of the Bible with my students than ever before. From Jonah and the whale to demon pigs falling off cliffs, from the healing of Naaman to Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, from Hezekiah’s plea for God to stop the attack of Sennacherib’s army to the truth in the Book of Revelation and more, these simple and funny rhymes not only engage youngsters, they help kids remember what they learned. Complemented by the wacky artwork of Tuesday Mourning, I find myself using this book time and again to share God’s Word.

Why do I know this works? Because months after reading, “Baldy, the Boys and the Bears,” my students can still tell me the details of Elisha cursing the forty-two boys for mocking him. They can still tell me the story of Esau and Jacob, because “A Hairy Scary Man” made it fun to learn. They also recall the death of John the Baptist, as told in, “Head on A Plate.” Starting off Sunday school lessons with fun allows us to have more meaningful discussions that all the children can participate in.

I purchased a copy of this book to use for our church’s Sunday school program. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Letters and Love From Afar

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these…you did for me.”  Matthew 25:40

Recently my six year old brought this verse home from Sunday school to memorize for her weekly assignment and it is one of my favorites.  A reminder that Jesus loved and embraced all – and that we should as well.  In an effort to extend ourselves as a family to those with little hope, this year we began our sponsorship of two children in Zambia through World Vision.  It has been a tremendous growing experience for us all as we try to understand what it would be like to struggle just to find enough food to eat and have clean water.

Through our sponsorship we have been encouraged to reach out to our children in many ways.  One way we have done this is to send letters and pictures.  Instructed not mention possession and things that we have, my girls found it a bit difficult to find questions they could ask so they could get to know our sponsored children.  Not able to ask about favorite toys, TV shows or books made it challenging.  As I helped my three year old draft her letter, I looked over to my oldest intently writing a letter of her own.  My heart melted when I read her thoughtful inquiries “I have a best friend, do you?  I have two sisters, do you?  I like to kiss my mommy at bedtime, do you?”  Whether in the United States or Zambia, the most or the least, six is still six and six year olds everywhere can love on their mommas and confide in a best friend!




Tell Me That Old, Old Story

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

Everything was set and ready for my author visit the next morning. At least that’s what I thought until I ran through my familiar story using brand new props.

After reciting the first few lines my mind went blank. I started and stumbled again and again like it was the first time I’d ever read the book. Since I was the author, you’d think I’d memorized the words by now, but like any other book read sparingly, I stumbled over the details.  

It’s like that with God’s story too, isn’t it? We think we know His story because we’ve heard it repeatedly, but if we haven’t recently read it, our memory fails us. Oh, we might remember enough to paraphrase scripture; we might quote our favorite verses successfully, but story details blur.

Paul states in Romans 15:4, that the Bible “was written to teach us so that, [through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures], we might have hope.” It’s not just a history book filled with exciting details of people’s lives just for entertainment’s sake. Rather, God commanded his words be written down so that we might be encouraged through it and pass God’s story, His hope from generation to generation. 

Now, the next time we’re cuddled up with our little ones reading their favorite storybook let’s remind ourselves to tell them that old, old story (God’s story) so that they too might have hope.

Dawn Aldrich
Inspirational Blogger at Dawn’s New Day
Author of Auntie’s House(2009, Halo Publishing Int’l)

It’s MY Turn!

Any mother who has more than one child who can talk has heard these words: “It’s my turn!” It’s a phrase  children learn very quickly.

When babies are born they are totally helpless, and they are dependent on others to feed, clothe, and care for them. It’s no wonder they enjoy being the center of attention–it’s all they know! When babies are able to sit in a baby chair or on the floor, they can entertain themselves with age-appropriate toys.  Everything that is within their reach is theirs to enjoy, and they are still the center of their baby world.

“Associative play” occurs when two or more babies are playing in the same area (like a nursery), but their play is still independent. Each baby enjoys his or her their playthings, but there is little or no interaction between the babies. Next comes “cooperative play.” This is when two or more toddlers are playing with the same toys at the same time.

Let the battles begin!

As children grow and mature, they need to learn social skills if they want to survive. Sharing and taking turns is something that mothers, grandmothers, and teachers try to teach children at a very young age. We want our kids to be kind, to share, and to take turns when playing with other children. But what about on the home front? That is sometimes the hardest place to teach your children to be kind to each other and to take turns. Sibling rivalry goes back to the beginning of time. Cain and Able. Esau and Jacob. Joseph and his brothers. Need I say more?

When I was raising my kids I heard about a good solution to sibling rivalry and decided to give it a try. It worked! In fact it worked so well that we continued the “system” until they left for college (seriously!).

Here’s what we did:

Each of my children had a designated day to be the “child of the day.” Since I have 3 children, they each were assigned 2 days of the week. My oldest son had Mondays and Thursdays, my second son had Tuesdays and Fridays, and my daughter had Wednesdays and Saturdays. Whoever was the “child of the day,” got to choose the TV programs and the music to listen to. They got to sit in their favorite seat in the car and also at the dinner table. Anytime a choice had to be made, the “child of the day” had the authority to make the choice (within reason of course!). The “child of the day” not only had privileges, he or she also had responsibilities like setting the table, helping with dishes, leading devotions at the dinner table, and being the first one in the shower.

Did this system solve all of their squabbles? No. But it gave them a sense of fairness, respect for their siblings, and also a sense of responsibility. My son recently told me that when he and his wife have a family, they want to implement the “child of the day” system, because it worked so well.

So you might want to give it a try in your home. But there’s one more thing I need to tell you—my day was Sunday! :-)

Here’s to happy homes and taking turns!

Crystal Bowman




Writing Family Keepsakes

My mother and her twin brother will turn 94 in about three weeks. With the way people live have changed so much in those 94 years, it is a wonder their heads aren’t spinning. Children today know so little about what life used to be like. They are so caught up with today’s gadgets and latest toys that it is probably harder for them to imagine what it was like 94 years ago than it is for my mom and uncle to understand today’s fast-moving culture.

I believe it is important to preserve the memory of what it was like for our ancestors. People have always found ways to preserve memories of days gone by. My mother kept wonderful scrapbooks in her younger days that were made on heavy black paper pages. Using white ink, she took great care to write in information to identify the people in the pictures. But over time some of the pictures fell out, and her enthusiasm waned for keeping up the ritual.

I too kept picture albums with great care. The pictures were all dated and numbered. We had a separate three ring binder that held notebook paper with little comments to go with each of the pictures. Most of the albums were made with cardboard pages that had a rubber-cement-like glue to hold the pictures in place and a plastic sheet that covered them all. But the glue eventually became weak and the pictures fell out. All of the time spent organizing the pictures went for nothing.

I haven’t gotten into the fancy scrapbook making craze that has been so popular in more recent years. I think that these scrapbooks are nice, but there is a lot of work and expense to create a single copy.

Many have taken advantage of new ways to make picture book albums using digital pictures and computer software in photo printing machines in stores. These are nice, quick, and easy, but there is little room, if any, for writing comments to go with the pictures.

Thanks to modern day technology plus some special websites available to us today, I have found a much better approach to keeping up with family memories. I like to make memory books that can hold both pictures and stories.

I started making memory books with a little book I made for a two-year-old granddaughter. The book was called Meet Jessica. This book was made on my computer using MS Publisher software. I put a picture on every page with a simple sentence telling about the picture. It included pictures of Jessica’s parents, grandparents, her extra set of grafted-in grandparents (my husband and me), her house, bedroom, yard, and cat. Jessica would soon be able to read this book herself.

I made a more serious memory book for my father shortly after his 90th birthday entitled This Is Your Life: Paul E. Ducker. Later with the help of my cousins we made another book for my mother and her twin brother and presented them with their first nearly-complete copies for their 90th birthday celebration. These books are chock full of little slice of life stories, memories, and pictures. Many of our relatives ordered copies of this book as keepsakes. You may see these books at this link on Lulu.com.

There are many kinds of memory books that can be written. They may feature a person at any age, a day’s outing or a family vacation or trip. This past week I started writing a four-generation book about playtime featuring the females from each generation. In this book are my mother, myself, my daughter, and my granddaughter. A rough draft of this book can be seen here on a free website. I still don’t have as many pictures in it as I want, but I can still add them as I find them. I hope to complete this book before Mom’s birthday in early June. I have avoided using full names and birth dates because I am posting it here in a public place. If you make a similar book for your family, keep your link private and include more complete information. (Note: This link appears to work better using Google Chrome for your browser. The book should look like a book on your screen with pages that turn.)

I hope this blog post and my new Playtime book will inspire families to create their own family memory books. There are several online websites that will produce print-on-demand books like these. My paperback books have all been created on www.Lulu.com, but there are newer websites that have sprung up more recently. I will try to add more links to this blog post in comments later. Perhaps some of my readers can share a few as well. My time is running out and I’m way over my preferred word count for this blog post.