Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Catholic Company Book Review: Little Acts of Grace 2

Little Acts of Grace 2 by Rosemarie Gortler and Donna Piscitelli, illustrated by Mimi Sternhagen

I was thrilled to see this book offered through the reviewer program at The Catholic Company because the children and I very much enjoyed Little Acts of Grace.

I was not disappointed.

In this little book, the authors have used the idea of Jesus as our best friend to explain why we should want to attend mass and participate while we are there, how we should pray and how our love of Jesus leads us to care for our family, friends and even people we don't know. I'm not usually one to encourage the children to think of Jesus as a "best friend," mainly because I hate to treat him with too familiar an attitude. There is no question, however, that our Lord is the most constant of friends and that many of the saints certainly wrote of him as if he were a dear friend.

My children love our parish, Sunday catechism classes and our priest, but we hear weekly protests that they do not like mass. With this book, we can explain how attending mass is like visiting a close friend and how pleased he is to see us each week.

This is not a book to make light of mass, however. In "Joining the Celebration:"
Mass is meant to be a joyful hour -- especially when we think about what is really happening at Mass! The love of our Best Friend, Jesus, is being remembered. But being joyful is not the same thing as being playful.
Ah, you see, they are encouraging an attitude of adoration!

I even learned something new myself. In "Holy Holy Holy:"
In the language of Jesus' time, there were no words to show if something was good, better, or best. So people would repeat a word to show its importance. For example, the word "Holy" means something sacred. If something was especially sacred, it was called "holy, holy." But a thing that was considered the most holy of all was called "holy, holy, holy."
The pictures show families of different ethnicities worshiping together, which is wonderful. King David is also shown with dark skin. Here on the Range, we talk about the colors of people's skin so I always appreciate a book's illustrations when they allow us to mention race. The friendly mouse from the first book is here as well. First Daughter will like to find it in each picture.

This book would be a welcome addition to any family library frequented by young children. First Daughter has already looked at all the pictures and I'll be adding it in to our Friday preschool readings.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I did not receive compensation for this review, but I did receive a free copy of the book. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Little Acts of Grace 2 and be sure to check out their great selection of baptism gifts while you are there.


  1. So how young would children be able to understand and appreciate the message in these books? I've looked at them before but hesitated as I don't know if Gemma will "get" it yet.

    I agree about walking a fine line between love/a relationship with Jesus without being too casual. Glad these approach this appropriately. And ah yes, Mass is not a playful time. I am sometimes annoyed (is that the right word?) at some of the school Masses I have attended, by the lax attitude. I don't know, maybe I'm not articulating myself well, I can just say what I've seen of late I'm not a huge fan...

  2. I read the first Little Acts of Grace last year when First Daughter was just three and she enjoyed it. Second Daughter now is two and she's not as interested in this kind of book as she is in storybooks. So I'd stick with three -- I think that's just about the age we can begin to expect kids to pay more attention in mass anyway. In my experiences, parents of twos are just trying to keep them quiet and as minimally distracting as possible.

    You might find it useful, yourself, though, if you're trying to explain parts of the mass. Sometimes it's hard for parents to find the right words and these books might give you a place to start. Perhaps (if we ever meet for that playdate) I could bring mine along and you could read through them while the kids play. They wouldn't take you very long at all.

  3. You'll have to read my blog post tomorrow. Was just looking for a way to explain something...but it's too long for here. Just read tomorrow ;-D

    Yeah, there is definitely a threshold of what Gemma enjoys with books and what is above her.

    I think these will be good ones for our library though. I have looked at them multiple times. Glad to know someone who likes them.


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