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

Marty Machowski
(28 reviews) Write a Review
Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean
Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean Picture Books
Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean Picture Books
Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean Picture Books
Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean Picture Books
Retail: ¥123.31
— You save ¥18.36
Buy more & save. Learn More


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 Seed, The 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.

View AllClose


"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

View AllClose

Product Details

Sub Category:
View AllClose

28 Reviews

  • 5
    An Excellent Book on Temptation, Sin, and Salvation

    Posted 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

    Posted 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

    Posted 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

    Posted 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

    Posted 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!

  • 5
    Creating Gospel Conversations for Families

    Posted 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

    Posted 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

    Posted 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

    Posted 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

    Posted 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.

View AllClose