What a Beautiful Name
Based on Hillsong Worship's Grammy-winning song, this is an inventive Christian children’s book that children can identify with
What a Beautiful Name
By Brooke and Scott Ligertwood & Ben and Karalee Fielding; illustrations by Scott Ligertwood
Hodder and Stoughton
Reveiwed by Moira Kleissner
This beautifully produced hard back book is well gauged for children in Key Stages 1 and lower KS2. It is written by the American and Australian composers of the Hillsong worship song What a Beautiful Name. On the dust jacket the families talk about how they tell stories around the family table. This is a good example of their excellent storytelling.
In rhyme, it tells of Oliver with Leo, his toy monkey, who on hearing Leo’s mum singing What a Beautiful Name are puzzled - who could his name be? They decide to set off on an adventure to find out.
After building a rocket, with backpack, map, water and snacks, they launch into space to find out who this name could be, while wondering who put the stars up in the sky. Landing on a planet, they tell funny stories, dance and sing, just as children might do camping in the back garden. But although huge and majestic space is, they still can’t find out who the wonderful name is.
The next adventure takes them on a boat across the ocean. Hitting a storm the powerful beam of the lighthouse shows them the way to safety. But they still haven’t found out who the name is.
As they land on a jungle shore, where the “wild things grow and animals roar,” they search. Tired by searching, they rest under a palm tree, have a think and decide that maybe they answer lies at home. Crossing a desert Oliver remembers the song sung in church the day before and wonders if the wonderful name is in one of his books.So back they go, racing through jungle, sea and space back in his room to search through his books, including his Bible.
After drawing pictures of where he has had his adventures, he eventually snuggles into bed with his monkey friend, the song ringing in his head telling him he knew the wonderful name all along - Jesus.
There then follows a page with the lyrics of the song to be read or sung with children. Although there is no music, it can be found easily on YouTube.
I particularly like the letter to parents explaining why they wrote the story and also a break down on the page opposite of the Biblical references and theology behind the lyrics.
I enjoyed this book for its inventiveness and adventure that children could relate to easily. The structure of going on the adventure then having to come back because the search for thing was at home all the time, is a classic theme in many children’s stories. It is a joy to find a Christian children’s book that children can identify with and doesn’t preach at them.
Moira Kleissner is a retired Primary Deputy Head, storyteller, trainer and minister’s wife