Courtney Guest Kim
Silly Sophie’s Summer Sunday Morning is that rare thing: an excellent children’s picture book. It perfectly captures the Sabbath spirit of the Psalms, which again and again exhort the faithful both to rejoice and to take our rest. The titular character is an English Springer Spaniel whose people are the Bailey household: Mr. and Mrs. Bailey and their son and daughter. Silly Sophie bounds through attractive, interesting, full spread illustrations as the family prepares breakfast, prays to their Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus before eating, and gets ready to go to church.
There is some realistic foot-dragging on the part of the Bailey children, which serves as an opportunity to discuss why we go to church on Sundays: as a gesture of thanks to God for his blessings; as an act of obedience to his command; and more mysteriously, to fulfill our purpose as human beings in worship. The seriousness of the topic is enlivened by the antics of Silly Sophie, who is disappointed to have to stay behind but makes the best of it.
The illustration of the inside of the church looks Catholic, with the altar, the tabernacle, and stained-glass windows, although there is a cross rather than a crucifix behind the altar. Another page shows a church food drive with participants of several ethnicities. The food collection provides the topic of conversation on the family’s way home as to why we feed the hungry. Then it’s an energetic reunion with an overjoyed spaniel, summer fun in the sprinkler, and at the end of the day, bedtime with a Bible story—and, of course, Silly Sophie asleep on their feet. In addition to the text and illustration, each page also features a relevant Bible verse (New American Bible edition).
There aren’t very many books that belong in the library of every Christian family, but this one really does strike the balance between religious instruction and charming children’s story. The physical hardback book with dust jacket is also first-rate quality: the perfect gift for any preschooler. It is not in any way a partisan book and should be acceptable to Christians of every denomination who want to teach their children to keep holy the Lord’s Day, joyfully.