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The One Year Mother Daughter Devo Review by Melissa Theberge

By Dannah Gresh with Janet Mylin
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188

Wow--finally a devotional that this homeschooling family loves! So often, I look at devotional books for my kids and find that they focus on traditional school scenarios to teach the lesson. This one, finally, does not. The One Year Mother Daughter Devo focuses on the gospel message and discipleship by using practical application stories that cover a wide array of childhood experiences, including friendships, family life, pets, personal choices, academics (but not in a school-specific way), and many brief scenarios of ordinary life. In fact, in many instances the devotion focuses on explaining something directly related to the text, without requiring an application story to relate to, indicating that the author saw fit to simply explain the biblical concept and flesh it out. Even the author's introductory page explains that the goal was to "put some fun and unique elements together to help you study the Bible."

There are many layers to this book that add interest and variety to a year-long devotional time, and it is clear that the authors took the interests of young girls into consideration when creating a format for the book.

For each devotional entry, you will see:

•  Bible Blast: This feature starts each devotion; it includes a Scripture reference to look up on your own and read along with your devotional. This is in addition to the focus verse that is printed out in its entirety, so it is optional to include in your day. I love the inclusion of actual Bible reading to accompany the devotion itself, and I think it adds an important element for children to be in their own Bibles with Mom.

•  Girl Gab: On the outside edge of each page, there is a short activity suggestion for moms especially. These often suggest that the mom share something relative to the lesson and then ask the daughter to do likewise, encouraging discussion and prayer on the topics. In some cases a fun recipe is suggested, with full directions for these included in the appendix.

In addition to these regular items, there are also themes to several, though not all, of the devotions, which adds a nice variety:

•  Language Lab: Some of the devotions delve into the theological vocabulary of our faith, which I really appreciate. A few Language Lab topics include the Great Commission, Discernment, Blasphemy, Conviction, and Resurrection. After introducing the key word(s), the entire devotion is dedicated to explaining it in a way that doesn't water down the truth while staying true to the biblical concept.

•  Amazing Animals: To appeal to the animal-loving child, a few devotions are focused around animals, tying the wonder of God's creation into the lesson. Chinchillas, woodpeckers, and butterflies are just a few of the highlighted creatures.

•  Kickin' Kraft: Some devotions include an optional craft project that might add to the study that day. Materials are either readily available at home or inexpensive to purchase. The details of the projects are included in an appendix, so the devotional page of the day is not consumed by the instructions. This also makes it easy for you to opt out of the craft of the day if desired.

•  Meditation Moments: Several devotional entries are dedicated to personal reflection and journal time, which I am so pleased to see. A passage of Scripture is suggested for this activity, followed by an especially brief devotion with instruction for how to meditate on the Word. Space is provided on the page for writing if desired. The author's goal with this is to inspire independence in the child by guided practice. I love this!

The quality content of the book appeals to me, but my daughters also love the visual appeal of this book. The cover is a pretty pink, with orange highlights and a cute font with delightful flower highlights. Yet the design is not so cutesy that my oldest would find it overkill. The sidebars of the pages are graced with a whimsical, detailed flower pattern that has a hand-drawn look. Pages are all black and white, but they remain pretty and feminine with the flower motif, stitching, buttons, and a daisy in the top corner of each page.

Each devotion in this book is excellent and worth the cost of the book. However, there is one feature that I found just a slight bit irritating, and that is the alliteration of every single theme, like Girl Gab and Kickin' Kraft. The former English teacher in me just doesn't like the "K" in craft, and I think it belittles the message in a way. Perhaps many girls would find this endearing, but I personally didn't care for this rather contrived cuteness. I'm not opposed to alliteration in general; I just don't care for its overuse, nor do I appreciate the alternate, incorrect spellings.

All that aside, I am quite enamored with this devotional, and we will be using it repeatedly as my girls grow up. While there is no age range specified on the book itself, I think it is a little young for my 12-year-old, and it is ideal for my 9 and 7-year-olds.

What sets this devotional apart more than anything else is the Biblical focus. Each devotion focuses on what the key Bible verse actually means and offers excellent explanations and discussion topics for moms and daughters. I simply love that the lessons offer a kind of mini-sermon designed to connect with a young girl, as well as encouragement for personal reflection time, prayer, and journal writing to document insights. Truly, this book has been a gift to us, and I recommend it highly to families with daughters.

Product review by Melissa Theberge, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2011