HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Christian Mom’s Idea Book: Hundreds of Ideas, Tips, and Activities to Help You Be a Great Mom
Author: Ellen Banks Elwell
Publisher: Crossway, revised edition published in 2008
Related website: http://ellenbankselwell.wordpress.com (author), http://www.crossway.org (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Elwell, Ellen Banks. The Christian Mom’s Idea Book: Hundreds of Ideas, Tips, and Activities to Help You Be a Great Mom (originally published in 1997, revised edition published in 2008 by Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, 1300 Crescent St., Wheaton, IL 60187). Ellen Banks Elwell graduated from Moody Bible Institute and the American Conservatory of Music. She enjoys studying the Bible, teaching a few piano students, walking with friends, and taking beach vacations with her family, and lives in Wheaton, Illinois, with her husband, Jim. They have three grown sons and one daughter-in-law. Elwell has authored several other books, including The Christian Grandma’s Idea Book. The Christian Mom’s Idea Book is intended as a resource book to help the reader make the most of motherhood.
After an introductory chapter with an acrostic on motherhood to emphasize its meaning and importance, 39 other chapters are packed with over 500 ideas and suggestions for fulfilling the all-important role of being a mother that have been gathered from Ellen’s own experience plus thoughts from more than eighty other mothers—those with preschoolers, high schoolers, and every age in between; those with one child, a houseful of children, and adopted children; but all with a great desire to raise godly kids and have fun at it too. Some of the topics deal with general motherly activities such as baby-sitters, birthday parties, car trips, planning for college, cooking. Others discuss more personal needs such as Bible study, time alone, and prayer. There’s even a chapter with advice for single moms. The goal is to encourage a safe, nurturing environment for the family and to make the home a wonderful place to be.
With all this information available, Ellen says, “I have included many ideas from many moms, in their own words, realizing that no mother can possibly incorporate all of them into her life, but hoping you will find some to enrich yours.” Depending on one’s religious background and beliefs, there are a few things with which some might disagree, such as calling preachers “pastors,” having a single mom’s group at church, praying for salvation, and celebrating Christmas and Easter as religious holidays. However, the biggest complaint that I saw about the book is the claim that the word “Christian” in the title is misleading because it fails to address many spiritual issues facing Christian mothers. However, it is not intended as a theological treatise but as a collection of many helpful tips on things to do with kids. One person even pointed out these are good ideas for all moms. And it does definitely approach things from a Biblical worldview. I am not a mother, but I am the father of two sons and I should think that the suggestions in the book would be very practical and useful.