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Smoothie Rock-A-Teller – On the Whopper Stopper (David and Goliath story) Review by Karen WaideDr. Gerald Mittmann
Rockie Rock-A-Teller – On Preparing For The Loudy-Cloudy-Typhooner-Kaboomer
(Hardback devotional about building on the rock)
Dr. Gerald Mittmann
We had the wonderful opportunity to enhance our Bible time these past few weeks. We received the first two books in the Rock-A-Teller series. These hardcover books are devotional books for kids, devotionals that are combined with biblical stories suitable for children aged 4-10. The first book is titled Smoothie Rock-A-Teller – On the Whopper Stopper. The second book is titled Rockie Rock-A-Teller – On Preparing For The Loudy-Cloudy-Typhooner-Kaboomer. Each book is meant to be read over a period of five days, a chapter at a time. And at the end of every reading there are devotional questions to be answered and thought through together, plus a prayer to pray.
The Rock-A-Tellers are a family of nine rocks. Each of these rocks are easily found in the Bible. They are all featured in their family portrait found at the beginning of each book. Also referenced is their favorite verse: Luke 19:40. This verse is when Jesus states, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” In this series of books, the stones are telling the biblical stories that they are featured in from their point of view. Each books starts with “Rocks don’t walk. Rocks don’t talk. But, if they could. . .” as a reminder that these books are fictional, but those rocks are a part of the Bible and have quite interesting stories they could share.
Smoothie is the rock that is used to kill Goliath in the story of David and Goliath found in 1 Samuel 17. Rockie is the rock that is the firm foundation Jesus tells us about in the story of the wise man and the foolish man who are building their houses, found in Matthew 7 and Luke 6. It is recommended that you start with the book about Smoothie as he sets the stage for the rest if the books, beginning with God creating and introducing the reader to the “rock talk.”
Let me tell you a bit more about each book individually.
Smoothie Rock-A-Teller On The Whopper Stopper:
Smoothie Rock-A-Teller starts out by telling us how God is so powerful that he can create by speaking. Smoothie shares how God put him where he wanted him and continues to shape him, which is what he does for each person on earth. The story then moves into the events that are taking place near the brook where he lives. Now, this story is quite familiar, one that most children have heard. However, it is quite unique hearing about it from the point of view of the rock. He tells us about the people who are gathering to fight, the Philistines and the Israelites. He tells of Goliath and the way he dishonors God (which makes Smoothie very sad). He tells of David and how much he loves God, his family, and the sheep he cares for. He tells how he is one of the stones chosen by David to go into his bag as he goes to fight Goliath. The entire story of “David and Goliath” is told in this 52 page picture book.
We loved hearing Smoothie’s names for things as he told the story. For instance, there are “talking-walk-abouts,” “baa-baa-mini-cloud-walkers,” and “scratch-a-roars” among many others. He describes things as he sees them, feeling his descriptive names are much better than boring names such as people, sheep, and lions. I love the conversational tone that is used in the story, as Smoothie gives all the background information about David and his love for and trust in God. And we see how, in the end, it is God who is actually the “whopper stopper,” not David or even Smoothie.
Rockie Rock-A-Teller On Preparing For The Loudy-Cloudy-Typhooner-Kaboomer:
This book is told primarily by Rockie Rock-A-Teller, but there are parts that are told by the Dinky-tellers. Rockie is the solid rock who is the firm foundation, and the Dinky-tellers are the sand that like to move all around. In this story, two modern-looking men are in the process of building modern-looking houses. Will Wiseman is following the “Architect's” plans, while Tom Foolery is ignoring them. Will makes sure to dig deep so he can build on the foundation, while Tom is more concerned about getting done quickly and being able to relax. In fact, Will is still digging when Tom starts building on the movable sand. While the houses look identical, it is shown that having the right foundation is critical.
Not only does Tom ignore the most important instructions in regard to building his house, but he is also oblivious to the warnings of the impending storm. When the “Loudy-Cloudy-Typhooner-Kaboomer” hits, Tom is caught unaware and unprepared, while Will is able to cling to the Lord, the Solid Rock. In fact, the story ends with the refrain from the hymn “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
I really appreciated how this story helps to explain to children how the house that is being built is our own soul and that we need to follow the “architect’s” instructions and be doers and not just hearers of the word. In fact, eight pages in the back of the book are devoted to explaining how the reader can become a Christian by trusting in Him, believing He died on the cross for our sins, digging deep to confess the sin in our lives, and receiving Jesus the Rock of our salvation, our foundation. The entire book does a wonderful job illustrating what happens when we don’t trust and obey, and when we are focused on worldly things.
Both of these books are wonderful devotionals that help children understand important details of God’s word. The questions after each chapter really got us digging and thinking. I admit, it surprised me a bit to see that the builders in Rockie Rock-A-Teller were from modern times. I was expecting to see biblical houses being built, especially after reading Smoothie Rock-A-Teller which was actually set in Bible times. However, after I got to thinking about it, I realized this probably helps the child relate to it more, as we are modern people who need to trust in the Rock. Jesus wasn’t just for those from ancient times.
The children and I absolutely loved these books. The stories are told in a fun way and the illustrations are bright, fun, and cheerful. I think one of our favorite aspects of them is the “rock talk.” One of the author’s explanations for having this “rock talk” is so that difficult theological terms can be brought to the children’s level. Granted, I really didn’t see a lot of rock talk in relation to theological terms in these first two books. I’m assuming this will come in later books, as the website states that the “resurrection” is called “God’s great deeper-sleeper-awaker-maker.” For now, most of the “rock talk” is centered around different nouns that are important in the stories. As the books are to build on each other, it seems to me that getting the reader familiar with the way the rocks speak will help them be prepared for more advanced thoughts later.
I can definitely recommend these books as a way to bring Biblical truths to your children.
-Product review by Karen Waide, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, November, 2018