Thompson, Tana. Illustrated by Marita Gentry. Why Dogs Are… Talladega: Kendall Neff Publishing, 2014. 17 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for less.
Tana worked in colleges for 30 years and, now that she is in retirement, she is pursuing her dream of writing. In so doing, she is combining her love for dogs with her pursuit of writing.
Why Dogs Are is the first in a book series aimed at raising awareness of the various roles animals play in our lives that enhance and improve our physical, psychological and spiritual well-being. This series is entitled Loved Unleashed.
You can read more at WhyDogAre.com.
Why Dogs Are tells the story of how a dog teaches some life lessons to a very special child. It seeks to explore the concept of God’s unconditional love and how someone without the ability to see or hear can comprehend its scope and His impact in our lives.
I appreciated that the story involves a child, Brian, with a handicap. So many children never understand the reality of life with difficulty except when they do not get their way. The story is one of what God’s creation means to us as humans, the “jewel” of God’s creation. I appreciated the interplay and the implicit example of God’s love for His creation.
I was a bit concerned when God needed help from His creation in order to show Brian how much He loved him. My concern is that it will leave children with the idea that God needs help thus making Him less than who He is. Yes, I can be accused of reading into this, but at the same time, we must do all we can to discuss God on His terms and according to His Word.
This concern notwithstanding, I really enjoyed the story and the truths that were proclaimed to a younger audience. The love God does show through His creation to a young man that world often typically thinks of as less than perfect is to be understood in the context of our being created in His image. That is where we find our argument for the sanctification of life and that is where Tana Thompson succeeds in telling a great story of love unleashed.
I feel I need to qualify this recommendation based upon the above comments. Be prepared to explain to your children that God really does not need help but that it is part of this story in order to show His love for all of His creation. I can recommend this book to all children and all Christians. The layers of the message being shared in this book will have impact beyond the first reading.