Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader and volunteers with the elderly playing her designed The Write Word Game. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Author: Anthony DeStefano
Illustrator: Erwin Madrid
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
“When people die, they come to live here. They leave their home on Earth, and they come to live in God’s home – heaven!” Gabby explains to Joey in Anthony DeStefano’s children’s book, A Travel Guide to Heaven for Kids.
At thirty-two pages, this over-sized hardback book is targeted toward young children, especially those who ask what happens after we die and when we go to heaven. Eluding the issue of hell, there is no profanity or scary scenes. Illustrator Erwin Madrid’s drawings are majestic, expressive, and colorful, stimulating a young reader to further consider what heaven will be like.
In this short tome, little Joey has asked his mother where people go when they die and she says they go to heaven to be with Jesus. Sadden that people and animals die, Joey goes to bed but has trouble sleeping.
Right as he drifts off to sleep, there is a tapping at his window and it is his guardian angel, Gabby, asking him if he would like to take a tour of heaven on her special flying suitcase. Inquisitive Joey puts on a golden visitor name tag and jumps on the case for an exciting ride.
After entering heaven’s pearly gates, Gabby shows him a place where everyone is happy and hugging each other. Besides seeing beautiful colors, deep rich landscapes, cities with streets of gold, and being able to fly around the entire galaxy, there are roller coasters, bumper cars, and all kinds of animals including dinosaurs.
Gabby then shows Joey the best part of heaven – where God lives forever. But before he sees God, time is up and Joey is taken back home in time for school the next morning. When he tells his mother about his guardian angel showing him heaven, she tells him he was dreaming but finds his visitor tag left behind.
Although the last page vaguely mentions asking Jesus to save a person, there is no mention of confessing one’s sin, His dying on the cross, or His resurrection. This is one way to start the process of explaining what happens when we die in a strictly positive fashion even though it teaches all people are going to heaven and there is an avoidance of eternal damnation.
This book was furnished by Harvest House Publishers in lieu of an unbiased review.