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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:
Retail Price:
Page Count:
Case Quantity:
Age Level:
4-7 Years
BISAC Category 1:
REL091000 RELIGION / Christian Education / Children & Youth

28 Reviews

  • 5

    An Excellent Book on Temptation, Sin, and Salvation

    Published by Zack Ford on 01 15 2020

    It’s not MY fault! They made me do it! I was just minding my own business, but then she… We’re all used to these sort of excuses and blame-shifting, aren’t we? We not only see it in our children and teenagers, but even among adults and within ourselves. It’s a common trait of sinful, fallen men — one that traces its origins all the way back to the Garden when Adam blame-shifts and turns the spotlight away from himself and onto God and Eve by saying: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Teaching our children how to take responsibility for sin, and much more importantly, how God responds to our sin and offers to forgive sin is something that we all as parents strive to do better. One powerful way that we can teach these things to our children in a memorable and impactful way is through the use of stories. And one such story that New Growth Press has recently published is excellent in this regard — Don’t Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean by Marty Machowski The Story Despite his mother’s reminder to keep his school clothes clean, Max thinks that he can walk down the muddy path where he can catch frogs and skip stones without getting his clothes dirty. As he says as he embarks on this path of temptation, “Soon I forgot all about Mom’s warnings.” The book then details his expedition of walking on logs, hopping over rocks, and dodging mud splashes, all along with Max thinking, “Mom will never know I came home this way.” And then things take a turn for the worse. A frog jumps out in front of him, he trips on a stick, and grabs hold of a tree branch, which proceeds to break. He almost makes it out unscathed until he slips on a rock and boom — straight into the mud. Max scrambles to figure out what to do. He decides he’ll try to hide his disobedience and sneak into his room, discard of his clothes, and his mom will never know of his disobedience. We all know how that works out though. Upon seeing the mud tracks leading to his room, his mom knew exactly what happened. Max shifts the attention off of him and blames the mud for splashing on him — not owning up to his own decision to ignore his mom’s command and avoid the path home where the mud was in the first place. After being confronted by his dad, Max finally owns up to his sin, realizing through his parents’ teaching that the stain of his disobedience goes deeper than the mud on his clothes — a stain that only Jesus can take care of for us. The Review In a vividly illustrated and told story, Machowski helps parents teach their children the real consequences of sin and the real forgiveness that God offers through Jesus in the Gospel. New Growth Press’s website summarizes it well when they say: 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. I found this book to be very well done and a very helpful addition to our library for our children. I read it with our four year old and he really enjoyed the story, though I don’t think the real lessons that the story drove home were quite able to connect with him yet. I think the primary age target for this book would be in the 6-10 years old range, though it is certainly helpful for children younger and older! With the sections at the end of “helping your child understand sin” and “helping your child understand the gospel,” Machowski helps parents with some practical tips and questions to drive the truths of the book home. I plan to continue to read this with our children in the years to come and, Lord willing as they mature and progress in their understanding, I trust that they will be helped by this book to see the real-life draw of temptation, the real-life consequences of sin, and the amazing grace of God’s salvation through the cross of Jesus In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank New Growth Press for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

  • 4

    Don't Blame the Mud

    Published by Raechel on 12 31 2019

    “Don’t Blame the Mud” is a simpler portrayal made for children to better understand our sins and what they do to us. It explained in a heartfelt yet easy to understand way, using creative illustrations that connect the child to the story. It was a very good message, but would need to be for a child old enough to sit still for a period of time as the book is a little bit longer and requires attention. But all in all, a good way to get across the message of repenting.

  • 4

    Great Book for kids

    Published by Seasons of opportunities on 12 30 2019

    This book was great! As a matter of fact I even used in our Wednesday night kids club to teach the kids about sin and salvation. It's a cute story about a boy, who even though he knows better, ends up walking home off the path he should be on, and gets covered in mud. His mom clearly told him not to get his school clothes dirty, but they just happen to get that way. (Through no fault of his own, of course) At least, that is what he tells himself and his mom, after he sneaks into the house and tries to hide the mud. The author does an amazing job at explaining sin, salvation, and that no matter how hard we try to get clean on our own, without Jesus it just isn't possible. The boy finally understands his need for a Savior. I would highly recommend this book! I was blessed to receive a courtesy copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

  • 5

    Simple in the Telling

    Published by Amy Smelser on 10 04 2019

    I found this to be one of the best children's books in telling in a very simplistic way how sin stains us and how only Jesus can take that sin away. This story is about a boy who disobeys his mother and what follows is exactly what she said would happen. No matter how careful he was, he could not miss stepping in the mud on the trail that he thought looked so much more fun. After getting all muddy he then tries to hide his guilt. Unfortunately that only made matters worse and led his parents right to the place where he thought he could hide. His parents were fair and loving and explained to their son about salvation. I have really been enjoying author Machowski's books geared to explaining the Gospel to children. This was a delightful story book with lovely and colorful illustrations. I received a copy of this novel from the publishers. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

  • 3

    Solid Gospel Presentation

    Published by E. Hankins on 08 27 2019

    Our family has been incredibly blessed by a number of resources written by Marty Machowski, most notably, his Old and New Testament devotionals for families so, I was excited to read his latest work for children, "Don't Blame the Mud". The Gospel message communicated through the parents was crystal clear and the follow-up questions provided in the parent section were helpful for drawing the kids out to think about ways that they struggle to obey, seek to blame-shift, etc. We honestly didn't love the story and read it repeatedly. Perhaps some of your kids will receive the story better. The Gospel message and follow-up questions certainly make it worth giving a shot. :) *Many thanks to New Growth Press for sending me a complimentary copy of "Don't Blame the Mud"! This is my honest opinion!

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