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

by Marty Machowski

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For young readers and families, Don’t Blame the Mud paints a vivid and accurate picture of sin and God’s plan of redemption. 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 BibleLong Story ShortOld 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, and The Ology. 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 22 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

Reviews (12)

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A Helpful Resource That Teaches Children About Sin, Conviction, and the Gospel

It's never too early to teach children about sin and what God says about it. In fact, I always say the earlier the better. As a Christian family, this is a topic that we began discussing many years ago when my son was a wee little one. Most children typically learn the difference between right and wrong early on, but taking it a step further to discuss when it means for their own eternity and the one way that they can be washed clean, is vital for their salvation. It also helps pave the way for their walk with God.

Recently, we've been reading a brand new book called Don't Blame the Mud Only Jesus Makes Us Clean by author and pastor, Marty Machowski. This book teaches children that there is only one way to be washed clean of our sins, and that is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ from his death on the cross. It also discusses consequences for making wrong choices and how to recognize temptation, so that sin can be stopped in its tracks.
Posted by Kelly on 17th Jun 2019

A simple story with a profound purpose

At some point, we all must take accountability for our own sin. Marty Machowski's story Don't Blame the Mud illustrates this step of maturity in a simple way. With illustrations by Craig McIntosh, Machowski tells the story of Max, who, despite his mother's warnings to keep his school uniform clean, choosing to walk home on the path by the creek rather than on the road. After a few close calls, Max falls, soiling his school clothes, just like Mom said.

Feeling an urgent need to cover up the consequences of his disobedience, he sneaks to his room and sheds his dirty clothes, leaving a trail of mud. He then lies to his parents about how he got dirty: "It's not my fault that I slipped and fell. . . . It's the mud's fault. It wasn't me." When his parents confront him with the obvious, he feels a deep sense of conviction, and his parents take the opportunity to teach him about sin, repentance, and God's plan for forgiveness.

Machowski includes tips to help parents talk to their children about the gospel. It's a simple story, but with a profound purpose: turning children's hearts away from sin and toward Jesus. The lesson holds for believers of all ages. Just as Max strayed closer and closer to the mud, so do we place ourselves in proximity to sin. It's a message we should never stop hearing and a lesson we all need to hear and pass along to our children and other younger Christians.
Posted by Paul Mastin on 17th Jun 2019

This book is a great way to explain the gospel to children

This book is a great way to explain the gospel to children. It does a good job of showing the dirt on the outside and relating that to guilt in the inside. There is an excellent couple of pages at the end of the book to help parents explain sin and the gospel to their children. The only aspect of the book I felt was less than perfect was the small print. It is not always so easy to hold a book so children can see the illustrations while reading the text. I can see Sunday School teachers using this book in such a way. Larger print would have been better for a broader use.
Posted by Joan Nienhuis on 17th Jun 2019

Additional info

Weight: 0.65 LBS
Width: 8.75
Height: 8.75
Depth: 0.35
Author: Marty Machowski
ISBN-13: 978-1-948130-96-7
ISBN-13 (eBook): 978-1-948130-97-4
Publication Date: 05/27/19
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 32
Age Level: 5-11
Grade Level: Elementary
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