Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Gardener and the Vine

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

Andrew McDonough

and the book:

Zondervan (January 15, 2010)
***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zondervan for sending me a review copy.***


Andrew is the creator, writer, and illustrator of the Lost Sheep series. Way back in 1989 as a young Bible college student, Andrew was asked to give the dreaded “children’s talk” at a large church. Andrew possessed one talent: he could draw sheep. He bought some overheard projector sheets and drew up the story of Cecil and the Lost Sheep. The congregation loved it, so Andrew continued to draw stories to use with kids and adults. Other student, pastors, and teachers started borrowing the stories.

Product Details:

List Price: $4.99
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (January 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310719461
ISBN-13: 978-0310719465


The Gardener and the Vine by Andrew McDonough is another new entry in his fantastic Cecil & Friends series. First Mia's review: I like it just as much as Jesus and the Children, and I'd like to say thank you to the author for writing this book and to Christians everywhere for loving Jesus. My favorite page was the one where Basil had joined the Vine because he was a part of Jesus and once you are a part of Him you have everlasting life! The book is about how good it is to be a part of Jesus. Now my thoughts. Basil is a branch on a vine on a lonely hill until one day a Gardener appears and offers to make him grow tons of grapes, but Basil has to trust Him. He's frightened when the Gardener cuts him off of his vine, he's terrified that he's going to die, but is instead brought to a most beautiful Vine. The story is an allegory of John 15:1,5 where Jesus talks about being the vine and his followers branches who will only flourish when part of Him. The story never mentions Jesus or God and yet sticks closely to the journey of a believer learning to trust in God. When I explained the meaning behind the story, Mia was quickly able to understand the deeper symbolism, including jumping in and accurately naming some on her own. McDonough makes the story very clear for children. The illustrations are always bright and amusing with plenty to keep little eyes happy. I appreciate how he puts a different spin on such classic stories forcing children and their parents to look at them with new eyes and gaining new understanding.