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Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean

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For young readers and families, Don't Blame the Mud gives a vivid way of helping children see where wrong choices come from and how to turn to Jesus for change from the inside out. Written by best-selling children's author Marty Machowski, this beautifully illustrated picture book teaches children how to recognize the lure of temptation and the truth that bad choices lead to bad consequences.

One day, Max takes the muddy path along the creek home, disregarding his mother's reminder to keep his school clothes clean. After crashing into a mud puddle, he tries to hide his mistake and discovers the stain of his sin goes deeper than the mud he can wash away. In this lovable, relatable, and heartwarming tale, Max learns his heart needs to be cleaned, and Jesus is the only one who can wash away his sin.

By clearly articulating the gospel, Don't Blame the Mud helps parents create an environment of confession so kids can own up to their own mistakes—in the freedom of Christ—rather than place the blame elsewhere. Parents, teachers, and caretakers can help children identify with the real-life draw of temptation and the real-life consequences of sin, understanding the value of God's salvation through the cross. Instead of teaching kids how to deal with a problem, Machowski uncovers the real issue of sin and provides a gospel answer.


Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over thirty years. He is the author of The Gospel Story Bible, Long Story Short, Old Story New, the Gospel Story Curriculum, the Prepare Him Room advent devotional and curriculum, Wise Up family devotional and curriculum, Listen Up family devotional and curriculum, Dragon SeedThe Ology, Don't Blame the Mud, Parenting First Aid, and Parenting First Aid Study Guide. He and his wife, Lois, have six children and two grandchildren, and they reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.


Craig MacIntosh was a newspaper political cartoonist and illustrator for over twenty years and was the artist for the widely published cartoon strip Sally Forth. He and his wife, Linda, live in Minnesota and have two grown children.


"What a gift to a child, to be taught from a young age that there is a remedy for guilt. Marty Machowski's Don't Blame the Mud provides kids with a vivid picture of the nature of sin and gives parents the tools to talk about it in an understandable way."
Nancy Guthrie, Bible teacher; author of Praying Through the Bible for Your Kids

"Max got filthy. But not just from the forbidden mud. In this story, Marty Machowski helps every reader three and older understand what makes us most dirty and how God has provided the most wonderful way for us to become clean. You'll find it a very helpful parable of 1 John 1:9."
Jon Bloom, Cofounder of Desiring God; author of Don't Follow Your Heart and other books.

"Don't Blame the Mud contains a simple and clear presentation of sin, its consequences, and the forgiveness we find in the gospel. As a grandfather of more than a dozen grandchildren, I look forward to reading this book to them with the confidence that God can use it to open their hearts to the good news of salvation found in King Jesus."
Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"I love Marty Machowski's biblically-rich, gospel-centered resources for children. I've benefited from them as a parent and pastor and highly recommend Don't Blame the Mud. Marty offers a heartwarming tale that will resonate with every child and generate discussion about temptation, confession, and the gospel. Here is an excellent book to help children grasp the seriousness of sin and equip you to present the gospel in a faithful and compelling way."
Dr. Josh Mulvihill, Executive Director of Church and Family Ministry, Renewanation

"In a day when easy believism is rampant, it is refreshing to find a children's book that is so careful about sin, repentance, and the conversion of a child. We witness a boy caught in his sin, repenting and trusting in Christ, and we see God opening his eyes to the truth. Thank you, Marty, for yet again another helpful book!"
Deepak Reju, Pastor of biblical counseling and family ministry, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC; author of On Guard and She's Got the Wrong Guy

Additional Details

Sub Category
0.70 LBS
8.75 (in)
8.75 (in)
0.35 (in)
Marty Machowski
Publication Date:
Page Count:
Case Quantity:
Age Level:
4-7 Years
BISAC Category 1:
REL091000 RELIGION / Christian Education / Children & Youth

28 Reviews

  • 5

    Creating Gospel Conversations for Families

    Published by Theron St. John on 08 26 2019

    It has been said one of the most neglected mission fields is right in our homes. For parents with children, there is a unique opportunity to not only share the gospel with their sons and daughters but to also live out the faith before them. This does not happen on accident but takes intentionality on the part of the parent, seeing problematic situations as opportunities to show God’s grace and share the gospel with their kids. A picture of what this looks like can be found in Marty Machowski’s latest book Don’t Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean. A Story about Max and the Mud With wonderful illustrations drawn by Craig McIntosh, Don’t Blame the Mud takes parents and children on a journey with Max, a youth on his way home from school. Dressed in his proper school uniform, Max is reminded of his mother’s command and warning to not get his clothes dirty. However, Max finds it too tempting to not make a maze out of the mud that seems to be along the pathway home. One misstep and he finds himself with mud on his shoes and clothes. Dirty on the outside, he tries to quietly arrive home and sneak into his room. With the trail he leaves behind him, his mother catches on and confronts him on the matter. Before she and his father speak with him, though, he is told to take a shower. While he is washing the mud off on the outside, Max still feels the muck inside of him. Upon facing his parents, he dares to shift the blame on the mud but his parents are swift to tell him where the fault lies, in his own heart. Thankfully, they do not leave the conversation there. Max’s parents use this incident with the mud to help their son understand sin and share with him the hope of the gospel. The closing pages of the book leave notes for parents to make sure their child understands sin and has a grasp on the gospel with Bible verses to remember along the way. Creating Gospel Conversations For Families What Marty Machowski has accomplished in this children’s book is helping children understand how their heart desires may reveal their sinfulness and where their hope of salvation can only be found. While some pages can be harder to read as the words and background blend together in color, the blending of everyday life and the truth of the gospel equips parents and encourage sons and daughters. It equips parents to see how everyday circumstances can lead into gospel conversations, and it encourages children to see how their sin shows up in their lives and how Jesus Christ alone can save them and make them clean. While this book may be referenced as a children’s book, Don’t Blame the Mud is not just for children. It is for families, parents and their children, to read together. If you desire to have gospel conversations in your home and with your family in the everyday stuff of life, then you need to read and glean from Don’t Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean by Marty Machowski. I received this book from New Growth Press in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

  • 5

    Great book on Temptation and Sin

    Published by Matt on 07 25 2019

    New Growth Press has recently released another great Christ-exalting, Gospel-centered, children’s book. It’s called “Don’t Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean.” It is written by Marty Machowski and illustrated by Craig MacIntosh. Machowski has written numerous other books with New Growth Press, all of which are rich in content and made easy to understand for parent and child alike. The main idea of Machowski’s book is to help the child understand the nature of sin and temptation. The book begins with Max, an elementary aged child, beginning to walk home from school. He recalls his mother’s instructions from the morning time: “make sure not to get your school clothes dirty”. Instead of walking down the sidewalk where he was most likely not going to get his clothes dirty, he decided to take a trail that ran along the creek. It was a muddy path that “seemed to call out to” Max. He believed that he would be able to catch frogs and skip stones all while being able to remain clean. After a few close calls, Max finally fell into the mud. He eventually finds his way home, and he immediately runs to his room in order to change his clothes so that his mother won’t find out. What he didn’t realize was that he had mud all over his face and body and that there was mud all over the place, leading right to him. Even after taking a shower, Max still felt dirty. Machowski then brings Max’s father into the picture, and he explains to his son how only Christ can make us clean, how our sin and guilt are washed away by the blood of Christ. Machowski does an amazing job of showing what sin and temptation looks like, making it truly easy to understand for a child. I am very grateful for his emphasis on the necessity and sufficiency of Christ’s death on our behalf to make us clean. Even as an adult reading the book to my children, I resonated with what it was like to feel unclean after sinning. A shower (or anything else) was not able to take away the guilt and shame. But confessing our sins and receiving the forgiveness and cleansing that only Christ can provide is the answer! STRENGTHS: -The content of the book (Gospel-centered and not focused on just being a good person) -Great illustrations by Craig MacIntosh -Very easy for children to understand, and really helps them to make the connection to the Gospel of Jesus Christ -Great length for children -Beautiful slip cover -The back of the book contains a page on “Helping Your Child Undrstand Sin.” It helps parents to go even further into their teaching of this topic to their children. It also has a page called “Helping Your Child Understand the Gospel.” Lastly, there is a page with key bible verses to remember, a prayer from Psalm 51, and a plea from John 13:8. WEAKNESSES -Though this book clearly and concisely brings the passive obedience of Christ into the story (Christ’s death), it does not discuss His active righteousness (His perfect life). I think there was room for discussion of Christ’s imputation of His righteousness to dirty sinners. I think that could have easily been woven into the discussion that Max’s dad had with Max. SUMMARY I can’t recommend this book enough! I think it’s an amazing way of teaching your children the nature of sin and temptation. It will really help them to grow in their understanding of God’s Word on this topic. Disclaimer: My thanks to New Growth Press for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book on behalf of an unbiased review. The opinions expressed are my own.

  • 3

    Sin and the Gospel

    Published by Amanda on 07 17 2019

    Marty Machowski's newest book, Don't Blame the Mud, is a children's book that addresses the sin living inside each and every one of us. But there is hope because Jesus can make us clean! I have enjoyed reading through Marty Machowski's books. They are full of sound, biblical advice for working with children and teaching them the truth of God's Word. I liked the concept of this book. Mud is something that kids can comprehend because they have experienced it. And taking that experience and putting it into this story, was a great way for kids to identify with the idea of being soiled with sin. I also liked how even after the mud was cleaned off of the child, the child identified that he still felt dirty inside. From there, Marty moves into the presentation of the gospel and how Jesus is the only one who can clean us on the inside. Overall, the story is a good teaching tool especially with young kids. This book is pretty straight forward, but probably not one my kids would pick up and read over and over. I wish that after addressing salvation, the author would of talked about how being saved doesn't mean we don't sin anymore. And how we now can come to the Father and confess our sins to keep a right relationship with Him. ***I received this complimentary book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

  • 5

    Don't Blame the Mud

    Published by Connie Porter Saunders on 07 16 2019

    Don't Blame the Mud is a great way to introduce children to the concepts of sin, guilt, and forgiveness. Author Marty Machowski shows how a young boy named Max is tempted to do the very thing that his mother warned him not to do. Max gets dirty--very, very dirty--and he immediately feels guilty about disobeying his mom. As he tries to hide his muddy clothes and shoes Max realizes that his mother knows exactly what he has done so he then tries shifting the blame from himself. A discussion between Max and his parents helps him understand that sin is wrong and Jesus is the only way to get rid of the stain of sin and truly be clean again. There are so many reasons to like this book. The illustrations are fun and colorful; the text is easy to read and easy to understand; and the subject is one that children will understand. All of us, no matter our ages, are tempted to do things that we know we shouldn't and then place the blame on someone or something else. Admitting our sin and asking for forgiveness is our only answer and the author shares scripture and suggests questions that will help parents and grandparents explain God's Plan of Salvation to the young people in their lives. This is a special book to share with young people and my five year-old-granddaughter paid it the highest compliment. She immediately asked me to re-read Don't Blame the Mud the first time that I read it to her! I received a complimentary copy from New Growth Press and I voluntarily chose to share my personal opinions in this review.

  • 3

    Biblically sound

    Published by Vera H Godley on 07 06 2019

    "Unless you see that you have a problem, you don’t think you need a solution." -Marty Machowski" author of "Don't Blame the Mud" This well-drafted picture book clearly articulates the gospel helping parents create an environment of confession so kids can own up to their own mistakes in the freedom of Christ. Max is our lead character and he is shadowed by a lurking companion - MUD. Max is dressed in navy blue pants, a white dress shirt, and a red necktie. He carries his backpack because he has been to school and is now on the way home . First of all, Max must be enrolled in a private school or one of the few public schools that have stringent dress codes. He is dressed in his school uniform. But whether he is in uniform or casually attired in jeans, shorts, and/or shirt, he is still an active boy that tends to get in the dirt. The author uses a dirt or mud aspect as representative of sin that lurks all around. The dirt of sin rubs off on us making us soiled. Can't wash that type of soil off in the laundry. Max's parents explain to him the problem of sin and the solution is Christ helping him own up to his own mistakes. The entire gospel presentation is spot on Biblically sound. The illustrations, though, left me somewhat wondering who the book's audience is intended to be. Boys the age that Max appears to be in the story - based on size - would not traipse through the mud, splashing, getting dirty. They would get muddy, dirty, grass stained playing ball in a field, fishing, hiking, etc. So I'm thinking that Max should have been a bit younger looking child. I felt that Max's parents approached the subject of his soiling his clothes and hiding the evidence a bit intimidating and overbearing. Surely a gentler, less formidable manner would have resulted in the same outcome. I have reviewed several of Marty Machowski's books and found each to be exceptionally well done and Biblically sound. Don't Blame the Mud while good, and Biblically sound, just doesn't quite meet what I have come to expect from Mr. Machowski's publications. I still recommend the book because it is Biblically sound and children do need to learn that they can't blame a situation or the mud of life for things going wrong. They need to learn that they can be cleaned of their sin by Christ. I don't see this book appealing to non-Christian audiences so distribution would be limited to Christian households, church library, and Christian schools. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.

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