ABC's for Little Catholic Boys and Girls
by Grace Madruga
Illustrated by Victoria Pennington
Trafford Publishing

"A…Altar…the place where the priest celebrates mass… B… Baptism… the cleansing of the original sin. C… Cross… God’s son suffering for our sins."

This is a sweetly illustrated, simple book for young children learning the alphabet. The author describes herself and her husband like this: "They are Catholic, Pro-life, and they vote. Thanks Be to God." Madruga, whose son Joseph Francis was the inspiration for the book, envisioned that ABC’s for Little Catholic Boys and Girls would serve three important purposes. It is obviously designed to teach the alphabet through colorful illustrations and short, easy-to-remember phrases; the phrases convey significant information about the Catholic religion; and all the while the book provides an engrossing activity for small children during mass or other times when quiet is called for. Each letter has a page, and surrounding the large brightly colored letter itself are little pictures woven within the letter, not unlike the illuminated letters in ancient copies of the Holy Bible. For example, since O is for "offering," inside the letter O, thrusting through the hole, is the offering basket. In a rectangle around each letter is the phrase to be remembered and associated with the letter (for O, "in thanks of God’s blessing"). There is a rosary hanging off the letter R. There are a boy and a girl, kneeling—worshipping—on either side of the W.

There is much to praise in this worthwhile lesson book that creatively introduces key religious concepts such as Pope, Incense, Vatican, and Queen of Heaven. One wishes there had been some information offered about the illustrator, Victoria Pennington, who has done a wonderful job presenting the material. There is little doubt that Catholic parents will appreciate this alphabetical guide to Catholicism, offering the little ones education and enjoyment at Mass or at any time.

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