The day that Reins of Love, by Laurie Salisbury, arrived, we were beginning our second week of the new homeschool year. Unable to find a devotional I thought would be able to hold my 9, 10, and 12 yr. old’s attention, I was feeling a bit unprepared for our morning Bible time. Up until this point, we had been using an online children’s devotional that was a bit too deep, even for me, and we had been struggling to give the deliberation to God’s Word that it deserves.
Knowing that this was a Christian children’s book, I anxiously awaited its arrival, praying that it would be just the thing we were looking for.
We were not disappointed.
In the story, twins Ben and Beth are moving to a new house in the country , and they aren’t sure what to expect. Beth has her heart set on receiving a horse since this is the first time they’ve ever had the room for one. Ben is a bit jealous of this, but they are both in for a surprise! Along the way, they meet MaryAnn, a horse trainer who is brilliant with horses but who clearly is missing something- or someone- in her life. Life with MaryAnn isn’t very easy for Beth; they just can’t seem to get along. Ben and Beth’s parents gently give their children the reminder that Jesus loves MaryAnn, and she needs him, even though she may not realize it. After some prayer and repentance, Beth and Ben set out to love MaryAnn just as Jesus does.
From the moment I first paged through this book, I knew that this was absolutely going to meet our needs. Each chapter of Reins of Love begins with a Bible memory verse, not too long and not too short. What I like even more than the length, however, is how relevant each of these verses are in the life of children, which is beautifully demonstrated in the storyline of the book.
Whenever we would begin our Bible portion of our homeschool morning time, I would read the memory verse for the chapter we would be reading aloud that day. I would ask them what they thought it meant, we would discuss it, and then we would read through the chapter together. It was particularly funny watching my children’s faces when we would get to a part where Beth or Ben were perhaps not acting as they should be. It was all too clear that my kids recognized some of their own behavior in these characters, which made it very easy to connect with them.
Although it is not a picture book, Reins of Love does have some lovely black and white illustrations that my 12 yr. old daughter, especially, enjoyed because they have a cartoonish quality about them. These pictures help bring this endearing story to life.
Despite the fact that I read this story aloud to my children, it is written on a level that most elementary students would have no trouble reading and comprehending.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a Christian children’s book. I only wish it was longer because it ended too soon!
(Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)