cover image A Travel Guide to Heaven for Kids

A Travel Guide to Heaven for Kids

Anthony DeStefano, illus. by Erwin Madrid. Harvest House, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7369-5509-6

This children’s version of DeStefano’s popular A Travel Guide to Heaven presents a concrete vision of heaven as a “new Earth.” A boy named Joey, “sad that people and animals had to die,” is visited by an equally childlike angel, Gabby, who tells him “everyone has a guardian angel” and takes him on a tour of heaven—on a winged suitcase, a story element left unexplained. Illustrator Madrid, who has worked on the Shrek films, depicts heaven as a pastoral landscape where loved ones reunite and all animals, even dinosaurs, live happily in the foothills of God’s house. Stylistic traces of the artist’s training as an animator inform the human figures; their large heads, expressive eyes, and snub noses recall CGI movies of recent years, softened with painterly edges and backgrounds. Earth’s scenes use primary colors, a nice counterpoint to Heaven’s golden tones. For staunch religious traditionalists, the message is reassuring: Heaven is a place of eternal happiness and peace; therefore, death is not scary. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)