Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Goodness Graces edited by Diane Jenkins

As you know, Jesus spoke in parables (see Matthew 13:34) to teach and to proclaim what "has been hidden from the foundation of the world."
Naturally enough, we still gravitate to stories to learn truth.
These ten short stories about the sacraments are not packed with detailed information but use short vignettes to make an important point about the sacraments.
I like the honesty. In Same Old, Same Old, for example, Cassie is disgruntled with her sister's enthusiasm for her First Communion. Cassie spends a lot of Mass time daydreaming, and she bluntly remarks, "Look, there's Communion at Mass every Sunday. It's not that special, OK?"
That thought has surely cccured to many young Catholic readers. Cassie's change of heart comes through an apt analogy of the special event of the Sunday family picnic her family takes after Mass each week. That is something she looks forward to and is special every week, no matter how many times they have done it... of course, she makes the connection by the end of this short story....(just in time for sister's First Communion)!
Are the stories gripping? Not all. It may be that only your avid reader will choose this from all the eye-catching reads from the local library. They may work best read-aloud. It is a worthwhile read and a soft introduction to the sacraments that reveal true lessons... ones that will better stay with readers thanks to the mental pictures that stories provide.
Each chapter ends with a few questions for further reflection. I wouldn't personally recommend these as assignments. They are a helpful addition, though, if you're reading this aloud. For a silent read, it should stimulate some more interaction with the story before moving on to the next. I read them to my children before bed and chose one question for them to ponder before they fell asleep. I can't guarantee they did, but it is nice to have a book that helps me make the effort so effortlessly.

This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. To find more information on Goodness Graces visit The Catholic Company.
The Catholic Review Program offers Catholic bloggers a chance to receive books in exchange for their frank opinion of the book being posted in a blog review.

The Catholic Company is also a great source for first communion gifts and baptism gifts.



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