Everyone gets frustrated when something important to them goes wrong. In Jax’s Tail Twitches, the whole Squirrel family ends up out of sorts when acorn gathering doesn’t go according to plan. Although Papa, Mama, Jax, and Caspian Squirrel all get angry, they also learn about the power of saying sorry, seeking forgiveness, remembering God’s words, and praying together.
Edited by David Powlison, Jax’s Tail Twitches ends with a special section that guides parents in teaching children how the gospel of Jesus Christ changes how we respond when life goes wrong. Also included is a tear-out page of Back Pocket Bible Verses that will help children and adults remember to turn to God for help when they are angry.
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. The last page of each book contains information for parents on how God, in his Word, helps children apply biblical truth to specific issues. Together children and parents will be guided by the stories into meaningful conversations about living by faith in the details of everyday life.
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; Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare; 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; and God’s Grace in Your Suffering. 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.
"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
"Failure, anger, anxiety—for too long we have thought that addressing these typical life experiences is only for the 'teenage' or 'adult' years. How refreshing—and wise—to see them being addressed from a gospel-centered perspective for little children. This series, Good News for Little Hearts, has the potential to produce godly perspectives and habits from the earliest years of our children's lives."
Jonny Gibson, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
“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
“Jax’s Tail Twitches is a tremendous resource for children and parents who struggle with anger. The endearing illustrations draw children in to a storyline that uncovers both the sin of anger, and our need for forgiveness and reconciliation. The story walks us through what a right response to our anger looks like and provides a great starting point for discussions with your children. Definitely a must-read in our family!”
Deepak and Sarah Reju, Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Washington, DC), Authors of Great Kings of the Bible and God Is Better Than Trucks
“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 RevDaveHarvey.com; author of When Sinners Say I Do and I Still Do: Growing Closer and Stronger Through Life’s Defining Moment
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This is the first book in this series I have purchased or read & we love it! We have already added several others from this series to our wishlist. I love how the authors show how to respond biblically to our anger in a way that is appropriate for young children. I love how the father is the initiator in this and leads his family spiritually by modeling for them repentance, prayer, & the importance of Scripture. Our daughter loves this book too. It’s been helpful to apply Ephesians 4:26 & Galatians 5:22 as we talk to her about how to handle her anger in a way that honors God & how important prayer is when we are angry.
This is a a beautiful book. I didn’t realize that it was intended for older children before purchasing. I have a two and four year old. Each book has a lot of words. It’s going to be a while before we can actually get through the entire book. Right now the best thing to do is summarize each page so that my children don’t lose interest.
Everyone gets frustrated when something important to them goes wrong. In "Jax's Tail Twitches: When You Are Angry", the whole Squirrel family ends up out of sorts when acorn gathering doesn't go according to plan. Although Papa, Mama, Jax, and Caspian Squirrel all get angry, they also learn about the power of saying sorry, seeking forgiveness, remembering God's words, and praying together. Edited by David Powlison and charmingly illustrated by Joe Hox, "Jax's Tail Twitches" ends with a special section that guides parents in teaching children how the gospel of Jesus Christ changes how we respond when life goes wrong. Also included is a tear-out page of Back Pocket Bible Verses that will help children and adults remember to turn to God for help when they are angry. Intended for three-to eight-year-olds and centered on an animal family to help bring gospel help and biblical counsel to themselves and their families from a Christian perspective, "Jax's Tail Twitches: When You Are Angry" is unreservedly recommended for family, community, and Sunday School library picture book collections.
LIke the book before this - this was a huge help in teaching the boys about how to handle their anger and frustration. Life is hard. It does not always go the way we want it to. I love that these lessons are taught through scripture and with adorable animal characters.
This book is one of our new favorite books. My kids have dealt with other's opinions being pushed on them. It is a great reminder of how we need to be concerned with God's opinion of us - and not others. The boys loved this book - and they loved the animals. As a parent I loved how it tackled real world issues in a fun Godly way.
I’m striving hard to make my conversations around moral issues gospel-fluent and biblically faithful. Some of these stories, in needing to be simple enough to be grasped by the very young, can come across as “just pray, and you won’t be afraid anymore!” (I think what is intended is “when you are afraid, you should pray!”) Dealing with anger, repentance, seeking forgiveness, and reconciliation. Part of a new series of illustrated hardbacks from CCEF. As a parent of four young girls, I’m always on the lookout for reading material. Especially for my youngest, who still need/want/love to be read to. I’m very grateful for more and more New Growth Press has recently published a variety of really good options along this line. They are delightfully illustrated, cleverly told, engaging books that my youngest daughter asks for repeatedly, and my second youngest now picks off the shelf to read on her own (she’s a beginning reader.) These books provide great source material for dealing with hard topics (failure, anger, fear, ethnic diversity, and marveling at God’s creativity!) and provides parents with guides for discussion along these topics. My girls also love the tear-out pocket bible verses included in each. The best part about these stories is that they aim at pointing a child to Christ in faith, rather than simple behavior modification and moralism, in accessible ways. Oh, and the messages of the books are good reminders and encouragement for me, the parent, as well. :) A small nitpick with some of the books: I’m striving hard to make my conversations around moral issues gospel-fluent and biblically faithful. Some of these stories, in needing to be simple enough to be grasped by the very young, can come across as “just pray, and you won’t be afraid anymore!” (I think what is intended is “when you are afraid, you should pray!”) An attentive parent will be able to navigate around this, but I wasn’t always an attentive parent (and still sometimes miss here). I’m not sure how I’d improve the situation, but just something to be aware of. Perhaps just a gentle nudge that parents should pray hard about how to communicate to our kids that sometimes God does allow suffering to continue, even when we pray. Perhaps the hardest lesson of all.
The Good News for Little Hearts series is one of my favorite collections on my son’s bookshelves. I currently have the three books in the series. Jax’s story is lengthy, but I kept my son’s attention by taking short breaks. We discussed all he saw in the vivid illustrations and remembered from the story up to that point. Jax’s story is based on a real life issue: anger. Sadly, that is something we are dealing with right now … both in mommy and child. The story will encourage your child (and mine, as well) toward a growing relationship with Jesus as he or she faces his or her failures. My child is currently responding in anger. This book has been a great help in helping him to ask for help and have patience instead of responding in anger. Yeah, it’s helping mommy, too. The book provides ways for you, the parent, to have meaning, yet age-appropriate, conversations with your child. Tear out Bible verses about anger are included in the back of the book. The book includes Scripture references of various translations.
As the father of two young children, I am constantly on the lookout for good children’s books to teach the truths of the Gospel, the Bible, theology, and so forth to my children. Though my children are both under 4 and not yet reading, I am continuing to gather excellent resources to use with them now and in the years to come. Time and time again, I have been impressed with and thankful for the books that New Growth Press is putting out, not only for adults, but for children as well. And their newest series — Good News for Little Hearts — is no exception. This new series consists of 3 books, two written by David Powlison and one by Ed Welch. The series is intended for children three to eight years old. Each book centers on an animal family and brings Gospel help and biblical counsel to children and families. Whether the topic is failure, anger, or anxiety, or the animal is a rabbit, a squirrel, or a mouse, each of these books does an incredible job at combining biblical help and hope to issues that every child and family faces with excellent, brightly colored and fun illustrations and engaging prose and story telling. In each story, children are not offered mere moralism and rules to obey, but are offered practical ways to follow Jesus through difficult situations that they face. This story introduces us to a squirrel named Jax whose tail twitches when he gets angry. As the squirrel family is preparing to collect acorns for the winter, everyone in the family is on edge and wanting different things. As the story progresses, each member of the family has an outburst of anger for which they must apologize. The father leads the charge, admitting his failure and reminding the family that we all get angry when we don’t get our way or don’t get something that we want. He then leads them, one by one, to confess to one another where they did not get what they wanted that day and ask for forgiveness for their anger. Again, every child deals with anger when he or she doesn’t get his or her way. You can see this at a very early age, even in infants, and it only continues throughout the rest of our life. Through this story of Jax’s Tail Twitches, parents are able to help their children understand why it is that they get angry in the first place, how they are to repent and ask forgiveness for that anger, and how they can avoid that anger festering in the future. In each of these stories, parents are given the opportunity to have meaningful, important Gospel conversations about important issues in their children’s lives through the help of a fun and engaging story about animals. At the end of the each story is a guide for parents to help your child with the topic at hand. While the story is the engaging part for the child, this guide at the end of each book may be the most helpful part about these resources, as they offer short, helpful recommendations and encouragement to assist parents in engaging in biblical counseling with their children. I would wholeheartedly recommend every Christian parent get a copy of each of these three books. There is not a parent out there whose children has not or is not struggling with anger, fear, or failure. These book will be a great help to all parents seeking to help their children deal with these common issues in a Biblical, Christ-centered, Gospel-focused way. In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank New Growth Press for providing me a review copy of these books in exchange for a fair and honest review.
While I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, it is one I would’ve gladly purchased. Here’s why: The Good News for Little Hearts series is one of my favorite collections on my son’s bookshelves. I currently have the three books in the series: Buster’s Ears Trip Him Up by Edward T. Welch #childrensbook Zoe’s Hiding Place by David Powlison #childrensbook Jax’s Tail Twitches by David Powlison #childrensbook Jax’s story is lengthy, but I kept my son’s attention by taking short breaks. We discussed all he saw in the vivid illustrations and remembered from the story up to that point. Jax’s story is based on a real life issue: anger. Sadly, that is something we are dealing with right now … both in mommy and child. The story will encourage your child (and mine, as well) toward a growing relationship with Jesus as he or she faces his or her failures. My child is currently responding in anger. This book has been a great help in helping him to ask for help and have patience instead of responding in anger. Yeah, it’s helping mommy, too. The book provides ways for you, the parent, to have meaning, yet age-appropriate, conversations with your child. Tear out Bible verses about anger are included in the back of the book. The book includes Scripture references of various translations.
At present, there are three volumes in the "Good News for Little Hearts" series which seeks to help kids and parents face anxiety, failure, and anger in a God-honoring way. While these animal stories don't quite have the enduring charm of classics such as the Beatrix Potter books, Little Bear, or Frog and Toad and some conversations between characters seemed to come off a little unnatural (and maybe even a little "preachy") at times, my little ones enjoyed them nonetheless. The volumes are sturdy and full of creative, vibrantly colored illustrations. Each book concludes with Tips for further helping your child and four "Back Pocket Bible Verses" in the New Living Translation that you can cut out and give to your child. Buster's Ears Trip Him Up: When You Fail has the clearest Gospel message of the three books, and both it and Jax's Tail Twitches: When You Are Angry mention the need for Jesus' forgiveness. I love that these books clearly point our kids to Christ! As far as articulating biblical counseling material, Jax's Tail Twitches seems to have the most content as it models the proper way to handle conflict: going to God in prayer, taking the log out of one's own eye first, asking forgiveness, and being reconciled. Parents will want to make sure to avail themselves of the parent tips at the end for the clearest Gospel presentation in this work. Buster's Ears Trip Him Up came in close but, in addition to confessing sin to God, parents will likely want to follow the example and parent tips in Jax's Tail Twitches and encourage kids to apologize and reconcile with those who have been hurt by their prideful boasting. Altogether, these titles are useful picture books that will serve adults as they seek to minister to children in their lives and help them to better image and glorify their Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many thanks to New Growth Press for sending me complimentary copies! I was not obligated to write a positive review. These words are my honest opinion!