Author: Father Olivier Bonnewijn
Illustrator: Amanda Wanert
Publisher: Magnificat : Ingnatius
Age Range: 7 – 10
The Three Roses didn’t disappoint. This is a simple story about Bella and her prayer life. We follow Bella as she graciously plays with her younger sister, and then settles down to her daily prayers. Bella prepares her special prayer table and begins to pray. The story provides a vehicle for Father Olivier Bonnewijn to teach children about prayer. Olivia dutifully follows her ritual, reciting her prayers and talking with God. Unfortunately, her mind wanders and Olivia begins to think about everyday matters – the cookies she baked with her mother, her friend’s pet rabbit and other passing thoughts. But three times she intentionally brings her mind back to God and continues her prayerful meditation.
The Catholic catechism directly addresses the problem of becoming distracted during prayer, even becoming discouraged when our prayers don’t seem to be working (2700 – 2758). In this story, Bella turns her thoughts back to God when she becomes distracted. She apologizes and continues on with her prayerful meditations. Different types of prayer are also used by Bella. She sings a song, she recites prayers, she writes a few words or thoughts into a journal. Bella prays regularly and perseveres even though she sometimes finds it difficult.
In the last few pages of the story, Bella has a dream, and a young boy-Jesus holds three beautiful, fragrant roses. He explains that they were a gift from herself that He received every time she apologized and turned her thoughts in prayer back to Him. Bella awakes full of joy and thankfulness as a new day dawns.
The Three Roses is the second in a series of story books by Catholic priest, Father Olivier Bonnewijn. Once again there is an extensive question and answer section at the end of the story where Father Bonnewijn explains all about prayer – types of prayer, the problems of distraction, the importance of regular prayer. This really is a good way to catechise children – the lessons of the catechism are present in the story and reinforced in the discussion questions at the end.
I also like the quality production of these books. They are relatively small in size and the story is only 15 pages long. I can see these very sturdy books surviving a busy classroom. They have side flaps that contain extra information such as the names and description of each character. The illustrations and colouring are impressive. I can’t imagine a handier series of books to help Catholic teachers and home schoolers with religious education. I highly recommend this book to you.
You can purchase The Three Roses from Veritatis Publishing HERE.
See my review of the first book in the series, An Extraordinary Friend HERE