Brandon's Notepad

January 10, 2014

Max Lucado’s “You Are Special”

You Are Special
This is a short review of You Are Special. The story was written by Max Lucado with illustrations by Sergio Martinez.

This story is available in both picture book and board book formats. We were given the board book as a gift several years ago. Though my wife has read it numerous times to the children, I pulled it from the shelf at storytime for the first time the other day.

This is the story of Punchinello, one of the small wooden people carved by the Woodworker “Eli” known as the Wemmicks. The Wemmicks spend their days communicating their approval or disapproval of one another through the application of stickers, gold stars and black dots respectively. Punchinello only receives black dots. He finds a girl Wemmick to whom the stickers will not adhere. She advises that he visit Eli to discover the secret as to why. When Punchinello learns that only Eli’s opinion really matters, he starts to lose his dots.

The meaning of the story is pretty clear: only God’s opinion really matters. He is our judge after all. The invitation for Punchinello to visit Eli daily is our call to prayer, for prayer transforms us by shifting our focus from the things of the world to the things of God. [Of course, Catholics can come to know God better through more ways than simple daily prayers: daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, meditation on the life of Christ in the Holy Rosary, Lectio Divina, etc.]

There is no real room for doubt that this story was inspired by Pinocchio. The Wemmicks resemble marionettes, lacking only the strings. Could this be an expression of free will? So many accuse Christians of being puppets of God and Church, when ironically it is free will that gave rise to original sin as well as the faith and love that save us.

The artwork is fantastic! Martinez is a master at his craft.

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