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Max Lucado’s Wemmicks

We saw the first of these books, You Are Special, several years ago when some friends gave it to us as a gift. Only more recently have we seen the sequel, If Only I Had a Green Nose . Anyone who has read even a little of Lucado knows that he is certainly a gifted writer, so these are engaging stories. The artwork by Sergio Martinez is nicely done as well. However, as could be anticipated by reading Lucado, the theology contained here is disappointing.

The stories center around Punchinello, a Wemmick, as he lives in his fallen little world of Wemmicksville. Wemmicks are little wooden people and their Maker, the woodcarver Eli, lives atop the nearby hill. The use of Eli (Hebrew for “My God”) for the “God-figure” is well done. Lucado’s main goal in both books seems to be to address the issue of self-esteem. In the sequel this is not bad as the point is simply not to try to be like everyone else. In You Are Special, however, self-esteem seems to trump the gospel. When Punchinello approaches Eli for the first time, Eli’s only message is “You’re ok.” The goal of coming to God on a regular basis is feeling better about yourself, no longer being worried about other’s opinions. Surely finding peace in God’s acceptance is a good point, but sinful people, including children, cannot find acceptance with God without the gospel. Perhaps some would say, “That’s assumed.” But we cannot simply assume the most important issues. We must speak to the reality of sin and God’s wrath so that our children will see the desperateness of our situation and the glory of the gospel’s offer of forgiveness. Some also shrink from speaking so plainly of sin and wrath to our children, but such fears are without basis. Love requires us to speak truth not to hide from it.

In the end the creativity of these stories is nice, but the theology is shallow, superficial and man-centered. I want books for my children that present the glory and greatness of God, the reality of sin, and the incredible wonder of God’s grace in the gospel. There are enough books in this direction not to bother with books like these two.

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