Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much

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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.


"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 

Additional Details

0.65 LBS
8.75 (in)
8.75 (in)
0.35 (in)
David Powlison
Publication Date:
Page Count:
Age Level:
Grade Level:
Good News for Little Hearts

12 Reviews

  • 5
    Great Lesson!

    Published by Veronica on 12 05 2019

    This was an excellent story about temptation and how even good things can become too important to us if we want them more than Jesus. I liked how the dad realized he was doing this, too, with his fishing lures just as Gus was with candy, though the dad didn't steal any! This was a good reminder for me and probably for everyone, young and old alike! There were fun illustrations of different animals dressed in clothes, at a market, etc., behaving as humans do. I liked how Gus asked forgiveness for stealing and the shop owner forgave him rather than just glossing over it. The gospel and sin is explained in a relatable way and there's an excellent resource in the back for helping your child with the "I Wantsies" as they call it. I highly recommend it!

    I received this book from New Growth Press. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.

  • 5
    Gus Learns the Hard Way

    Published 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

    Published 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!

    Published 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

    Published 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.

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