Brilliant. That is the one word that comes to mind to describe Clare’s Costly Cookie: A Young Heart Discovers the Way of Love by Julie Kelly and illustrated by Mary MacArthur. Parents today have a grave responsibility to not only teach the catechism to their children, but also to foster in their children saintliness and a daily prayerful relationship with Jesus that they can use throughout their entire lives. With this book, Julie has given parents a wonderful resource to do just that. The reader follows nine-year-old Clare with her everyday strains of being a typical child and watches her grow in holiness through little talks with Jesus. This book teaches and shows how a child can be transformed by the power of prayer.
Children follow Clare, the third child of four, through her twenty prayerful conversations with Jesus. She begins the first discussion by telling Jesus she doesn’t pray a whole lot and how she is irritated with her little brother. After sitting quietly- listening to Jesus- she says she feels the ice cube in her chest start to melt and a warm feeling starting to grow. From there each conversation with Jesus builds upon the prior; the reader watches Clare slowly grow and learn, and, of course, she has many relapses along the way! With each conversation, the reader is able to hear all of her failings, angers, concerns, and disappointments, then later her understandings, calms, reassures, and satisfactions. Clare struggles with her selfish tendency, obeying her parents, getting along with her siblings, sitting still for Mass and family rosary – just to name a few. Along the way she learns to be unselfish, learns to offer up her daily sufferings, learns the importance of preparing her heart to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, learns the importance of spending time with Jesus before the Blessed Sacrament, and learns how important it is to pray every day to keep her heart closed to the devil and sin. Additionally, each conversation nicely ends with a Bible verse which relates in some way to Clare’s discussion with Jesus. This book is loaded with many wonderful lessons to help children grow in holiness.
Clare teaches children, and adults alike, by her example to always be mindful of Jesus and when problems do arise that we should not hesitate to turn to Him in prayer for guidance and help. This is our path to holiness. This is our path to sainthood. This is our path to heaven. The entire family can learn something from this book. I read this book over twenty days as a daily morning devotion to all my children – even my oldest daughter, who is 15, was receiving inspiration from this book! The chapters are about four pages long with each one containing a beautiful illustration. The book is clearly written for children, but the ideas contained are for everyone. I plan to read this treasure at least once a year to instill in my own children the step needed to lead a good, holy life. Mrs. Kelly has fashioned together a delightful easy-to-understand book that will help children to draw closer to Jesus and to strive for the sainthood we are all meant to share in.
We received a copy of the book for this review from the author.