Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much

David Powlison
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Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much
Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much Picture Books
Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much Picture Books
Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much Picture Books
Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much Picture Books
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Gus, a raccoon who loves all things sweet, learns what happens when you want something too much. After Gus gets caught taking candy from the store, Papa reminds him that temptation might be strong for us, but it’s not too strong for Jesus. Both Gus and Papa can ask Jesus for help when they want something too much.

The last page contains information for parents on how God, in his Word, helps us turn to Jesus when we are tempted. Together children and parents will be guided into meaningful conversations about living by faith in the details of everyday life.

Also included is a tear-out page of “Back Pocket Bible Verses” that will give children a practical way to remember God’s words when they want something too much.

A new series of hardback, illustrated children’s books for three-to eight-year-olds—each centered on an animal family—bring gospel help and biblical counsel to families. The animal characters, colorful illustrations, and the real-life issues each animal family face will captivate children. The first three books address anxiety, anger, and failure, bringing biblical help and hope to issues every child faces.


David Powlison, MDiv, PhD, (1949–2019) was a teacher, counselor, and the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He wrote many books and minibooks, including Speaking Truth in Love, Seeing with New Eyes, The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context, Good and Angry: Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining, and Bitterness, Making All Things New: Restoring Joy to the Sexually Broken, God's Grace in Your Suffering, and Safe and Sound. David was also the editor of The Journal of Biblical Counseling.

Joe Hox was raised on a farm in southern Iowa where he doodled whenever he wasn’t spading thistles or feeding pigs. Everyone knew by his crooked hay rows that he would choose art over farming. Joe earned his BA in Art and Education from Dordt College and his MA from the University of Nebraska. Today he lives with his wife and four children in Pella, Iowa, where he illustrates and teaches art. Joe has illustrated all of the Good News for Little Hearts series.

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"These books are a uniquely different genre from classic children's bedtime reading. They are counseling books to help children. They provide a creative avenue for children to consider how their faith is intimately relevant to their struggles. This is what makes this series of books so significant."
David Powlison, (1949–2019) was Executive Director of CCEF and editor of the Good News for Little Hearts series

"When our children were little, we read to them constantly—and had these books been available, they would have been among the favorites. With the simplicity and engaging charm of the Peter Rabbit stories, yet with the quiet grace of Christian insight, these stories stamp themselves on young minds. Text and pictures support each other tellingly. These books are destined to become favorites for young families." 
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical School, Deerfield, IL; cofounder of The Gospel Coalition

"I love these books. My daughter Kim who struggles with a disability loves these books. She giggles all the way through them—catching all the subtle humor. I read them to my grandkids. We especially love the drawings. I buy copies for all my grandchildren. What more can I say? They are fun!"
Paul E. Miller, Director of seeJesus; author of A Praying Life and J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life

"So many Christian parents are looking for engaging, age-appropriate ways to help their young children learn what the Bible teaches about everyday struggles and challenging situations. This new book series edited by David Powlison and Ed Welch fits the bill! In the Good News for Little Hearts series, kids will be enthralled by relatable characters, charming illustrations, and gospel-centered lessons. These volumes would make a valuable addition to any family’s library." 
Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family

“For years I wished there were resources that would help equip children to face the many trials and temptations that come in this life rather than waiting till they are neck-deep in the mire before throwing them the lifeline of biblical truth. The Good News for Little Hearts series is an answer to my longing. These books communicate life-changing biblical truths through beautiful illustrations and stories that connect with young hearts in meaningful ways.”
Curtis Solomon, Executive Director, Biblical Counseling Coalition

“Wow, what a series! Within these books you meet wonderfully relatable characters with feelings and experiences readily identifiable to children of all ages, clever and creative illustrations, excellent questions that will spark meaningful conversations with your child or grandchild, and simple scriptural connections that are easily understood. Can’t wait to recommend them to our kids and read them to our grandkids!”
Dave Harvey, President of Great Commission Collective; founder of; author of When Sinners Say I Do and I Still Do: Growing Closer and Stronger Through Life’s Defining Moment

Gus Loses His Grip is a sweet story for children (and their parents!) who struggle with wanting the gift more than the Giver. Best of all, it directs readers back to the forgiveness and grace available through Jesus. A must-read in our home!”
Sarah and Deepak Reju, Authors of God is Better Than Trucks and On Guard 

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21 Reviews

  • 5
    Gus Learns the Hard Way

    Posted by ReneeK on 11 26 2019

    This is one of the many books in the Good News for Little Hearts series. The books are intended for ages 3-8. All the books are Biblical Worldview and teach kids about Biblical principles. Gus the raccoon has a sweet tooth and loves it way too much. He sneaks it in his bedroom and eventually runs out of his sweets. He then steals some at the store. His parents find out and Gus has to return his sweet loot. Gus apologizes for his actions. His father has a heart to heart with him about stealing. He continues with sin and how we all sin but, with God’s help we can overcome that sin. I love that this series deals with everyday issues that kids face. The book is a good conversation starter for parent to have with their kids. I love that the story is from a Biblical Worldview. The illustrations are adorable and have a lot of detail to keep little ones even more intrigued. In the back of the book are scriptures cards and some tips for sharing with your kids. A Gospel-focused discussion guide is also included. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8 I received a free copy of this product

  • 5
    Digging Deeper

    Posted by Katie Waalkes on 11 21 2019

    Honestly I really loved pretty much everything about this book. The first gem that I want to point out is that while the story tells of a little raccoon that has a problem with stealing candy the author chooses go one step further and not just talk about the surface issue of stealing but rather choose to dig deeper and discuss the issue of temptation. They address the fact that we all struggle with temptation but God is with us and He can help us fight that temptation. The second thing I loved about it was the fact that it pointed out how the parents struggle too. Obviously mom and dad do not struggle with stealing from the store but they struggle with the desire for more and discontentment. The third and final thing I love is the really in depth discussion guide in the back. This book helps you discuss fighting temptation, how we are all sinners in need of God's grace, being thankful for what we have, being a good steward of What God has given us and so much more. I plan to read this over and over again with my kids as I have noticed something new each time I have read it.

  • 5
    Dealing with temptation!

    Posted by Beauty in the Binding on 11 20 2019

    My four-year-old enjoyed Gus Loses His Grip. I’m not sure if it was the love of candy, the naughty behavior, the colorful illustrations, or a combination of the three aspects, but this book was thoroughly entertaining for her. Besides her enjoyment of this book, what I really appreciated about Gus Loses His Grip is its moral messages. There are the direct ones about it being wrong to steal and that we need help from Jesus when we struggle with temptation. But, there’s also an emphasis on honesty. Gus has a confessional conversation with his Papa, but then the Papa shares his own struggles and teaches that everyone, including grownups, needs help from Jesus. Being only four years old, I think my daughter was able to understand the moral messages of the story, but I’m not sure how deeply those messages sunk in. Fortunately, it’s a hardcover book and I expect it will hold up to her revisiting it over time.

  • 5

    Posted by Brooke on 11 20 2019

    I really enjoyed this one! I loved most that even the parents had to learn the lesson as well of not always wanting more. I think this book can resonate with anyone. I liked how they described each family member in a way that it could be their struggle and how you should focus more on being content with the blessings you already have.

  • 5
    Gus Loses His Grip

    Posted by Leticia Glidewell on 11 16 2019

    Absolutely loved this book It has great lesson about being content with what God has given you and how to appreciate the wonderful gifts He's given, including the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ.

  • 4
    Teaching Children About Emotions

    Posted by Suzie Waltner on 11 15 2019

    One of the things I appreciate most about the children’s books from New Growth Press is the parent guides to further discussions about the topics in the books. The Good News for Little Hearts series teaches three to eight-year-olds about their feelings. In Gus Loses His Grip, Gus becomes greedy about sweets to the point he’s hiding things, lying, and stealing. I liked how Daddy Racoon talks to Gus and acknowledges he could use some work in this area too. Little readers will enjoy the illustrations and meeting more of the woodland creatures from the series. The pace and artwork are comparable to other book series like The Berenstain Bears. Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  • 5
    About little ones struggling with wanting more

    Posted by Wendy on 11 15 2019

    Gus, the racoon, loves sweets. He sneaks them up to his bedroom, he thinks about them when Papa is reading about the Easter story, and when his mum takes him to the post-easter sales, he stuffs his pockets with the candy samples from the shop. His dad spots them all coming out of his pockets and he is taken back to apologise to the storeowner, who forgives him. After this though, dad’s eyes light up with the shopping sales himself and he buys many things at the fishing store. Papa realises he, like little Gus, also wants many thing. Together the two of them consider all the good things God has given them: reminding them to “taste and see that the Lord is good”: the singing birds, the lovely breeze, the fish in the stream and tasty strawberries in the field. It’s great to have the parents also acknowledge they struggle with wanting lots of things and have to be careful as well. A great feature of these books is the strong parental figures. They guide their children in the truth, acknowledge their own faults and listen well. They bring their children back to God’s word as they guide and instruct, and are corrected by it themselves. Aimed at children aged 5-10, the story creation is attributed to Jocelyn Flenders, with David Powlison named as editor. Joe Hox had created engaging illustrations bringing the various animals to life. Each book contains extra notes and biblical guidance for parents and there are tear out bible verses for kids to keep in their pocket to remember God’s truths.

  • 5
    When You Want Something Too Much

    Posted by SJ on 11 14 2019

    In this book, Gus the raccoon loves sweets (I can relate), and this leads him to do something wrong. His dad deals with him over this issue. I know, reading this, you feel like you’ve read this scenario over and over. Yet, in these books the issues are fleshed out in a meatier, Christian way (the animals do refer to the Bible as “The Great Book” which was a little odd but really my only quibble). The Christian focus is probably not surprising, as they are put out by the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF).

  • 5
    A good book with an even better message

    Posted by Kristin Bush on 11 09 2019

    Now Gus is a going through a sneaky phase. It starts with disobedience, eating candy in his room, which is a no-no. Then it delves into stealing candy at the market. All of this falls around Easter. When Gus confesses to his dad he says he just had to have it (candy). So when he was offered a piece without any supervision he did what the kids next to him did, took more than he was told he could. Gus also confesses to eating candy in bed and hiding the wrappers knowing it was against the rules. But the best part? His dad's response. His dad acknowledged what Gus did was wrong then self-reflected that even he as an adult needs to practice restraint and self-control. Then his dad tells him to return the candy, confess to the shopkeeper and apologize. Parents, a book that deals with disobedience, lying, and theft in a godly manner? Win! Again add it to your home library for when the situation arises. {I received this book from the publisher, New Growth Press, in exchange for my honest review.}

  • 5
    Life Lessons

    Posted by MaureenT on 11 09 2019

    I am so happy to have some choices for my little niece, something in line with our Christian faith, and this little book sure meet the requirements. While my little one is young, she is smart and loves the brightly colored pages, but she is also absorbing the messages offered, and in a delightful way. With a lesson that has our Gus actually coveting sweets to the point of stealing, and reinforced with Dad coveting fishing gear, we are shown forgiveness, and God’s Love reinforced. There are “back pocket” bible verses in the back of the book, they are perforated for easy tear out and carry. A wonderful addition to our book case! I received this book through the Publisher New Growth Press, and was not required to give a positive review.

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