Party of Three at the Palace of Blue
by Mary Lee Gutwein
LitFire Publishing

"Oh, why? Oh, King! Oh, why must we have our royal snack back in the kitchen and not in the Palace of Blue?"

Gutwein’s easy-to-read chapter book is the short story of three girls preparing to have a snack in their imaginary kingdom, complete with a fancy setting, in the outdoor Palace of Blue. The girls frolic and play while awaiting their snacks; they are surprised to find the snacks not ready at the appropriate time and the royal cook, Mom, waiting on them with a lesson on respect and manners. Once the girls realize their mistake and apologize for their poor behavior, Mom leads them to a beautiful table covered with a lace tablecloth and fresh treats. As the girls are about to partake of their sweets, their father arrives home from a long business trip. Overjoyed, the girls rush to their father and tell him about their morning. Their father states that it sounds like an awesome morning and relates how their story reminds him of a piece of text he was just reading in his Bible that morning.

Gutwein’s story is clearly written with purpose; the theological discussion by the father is complete with biblical quotations and focuses on the idea of salvation in an evangelical Christian belief system. Although some unsuspecting readers might be surprised when encountering the message of the book, the family who pulls this off the shelf of a church library or Christian bookstore will get what they want and expect out of the story. Gutwein is a competent writer, and the illustrations are warm even if not always as realistic facially. Families with beliefs aligning with Gutwein’s may find this a good book for a family read-aloud and could enjoy the discussion of salvation it invites.

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