I’m a fan of John Ortberg. I’ve listened to his sermons on the Menlo Park Church podcast and read several of his books. He is called, with affection, Dallas-for-Dummies for his ability to translate the writings of his late mentor Dallas Willard into the language of the people. Your Magnificent Chooser is a short children’s book designed to help kids understand how to make good choices.
This is not a children’s story but a poem designed to teach kids. He explores the things we choose, what bad choices look like, and how God wants us to choose for ourselves. Illustrations by Robert Dunn personify (or creaturefy?) our Choosers as a furry balloon following us everywhere and into every situation. We learn, “a Chooser is a thing/ That is not just for you,/ Because everyone else/ Has their own Chooser too” (17). Ortberg helps children use their Choosers to love others, use Chooser often and use it to make good choices (just like Jesus would).
Three of my kids are at an age where they appreciate this book (ages 6, 7.5, and nine). We’ve had several discussions since I first read it, on our Choosers and the importance of choosing wisely. They enjoyed it and got them talking. That strikes me as a good book.
I’ve tried to instill in my own kids the importance of good choices. I let them choose things (and sometimes suffer the consequences of poor choices) because I want them to learn to choose and choose wisely. Ultimately, I want them to choose Jesus. We talk often about what good choices are and the options available to them. Ortberg’s book provides a means to deepen and extend the conversation, towards the mundane and the sacred.
This book didn’t grab me the way some of our picture books do, but the kids really liked it. As a parent concerned that our kids learn to make good choices, a book like this provides language to help kids think about, visualize and understand what good choices are. Therefore, I give this book four stars.
Note: I received this book from Tyndale Books in exchange for my honest review.