I want to thank Christian Focus 4 Kids for supplying a review copy of The Dog’s Dinner in return for my honest opinion.
I’m always on the lookout for engaging Bible stories written for younger children. I get especially excited about stories that cover less-well-written-about-Bible stories. When the stories are expository, I’m super excited. And when those Bible story books point to Jesus as the Lord and Savior, well, then I really like to let you know about them.
Last year I told you about a fabulous book by Douglas Sean O’Donnell: Two Fat Camels: The Story of Two Rich Men from Luke 18-19. I loved that O’Donnell, a professor in Biblical Studies at Queensland Theological College in Brisbane, Australia, took two adjoining stories from the Bible and explained them together in a fun way.
The Dog’s Dinner by Douglas Sean O’Donnell
The Dog’s Dinner: A Story of Great Mercy and Great Faith from Matthew 14-15 by Douglas Sean O’Donnell (CF4K, 2016) is a great sequel to Two Fat Camels. Dare we hope for a series? Like Two Fat Camels, The Dog’s Dinner is illustrated by Gail Schoonmaker.
O’Donnell uses the theme of food (and a dog!) to illustrate God’s gifts to humans. He tells of the Father’s provision in the Garden of Eden, in the Promised Land, and later in the Wilderness. Kids are then led to relate God’s provision of food with His provision of a Savior–sent to save us from “sin and sickness, and death and the devil”. God’s people were looking forward to a Savior before the birth of Jesus, but also to a great feast.
O’Donnell tells the stories of Jesus showing his love and mercy by feeding 5,000 men and their families, and then 4,000 men and their families. He also includes the actual text of each Bible story in a sidebar–I love that!
A Unique Bible Story Book
In between the two stories of Jesus miraculously feeding the masses, there is a story of Jesus visiting a Gentile area and healing the demon-possessed daughter of a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28). O’Donnell uses winsome language and descriptions to explain that if Jesus only wanted to bring the Good News of the Gospel to the Jews, he could have easily avoided Tyre and Sidon. In fact, it took a lot of time and effort for him to travel there. Jesus easily could have avoided the encounter with the Gentile woman altogether.
The story of a woman begging Jesus to heal her daughter, and asserting that even dogs receive crumbs, is a tough one to stomach for many adults. Even so, The Dog’s Dinner does a good job of presenting the story for kids. This Gentile woman persisted in her faith, humbling herself and asking Jesus for mercy. While Jesus challenged her initially, he did heal her daughter, saying: “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” Kids will learn that the woman was fed not a great feast of food, but the Bread of Life–Jesus himself.
The Dog’s Dinner is another great Bible story that considers how the Bible is structured and what that may mean when we read the stories within. I highly recommend both The Dog’s Dinner and Two Fat Camels. Your children will love them!
You can purchase The Dog’s Dinner at
You can find Douglas Sean O’Donnell’s book Two Fat Camels at
- Thinking Kids Review: Two Fat Camels
- Amazon: Two Fat Camels: Not Just a Story: Bible Investigation for Kids
- Christian Book: Two Fat Camels: The Story of Two Rich Men from Luke 18-19
More Christian Focus books for the family reviewed at Thinking Kids:
- Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth by Danika Cooley
- My 1st Books More by Carine Mackenzie and Philip Ross
- God Made All of Me by Justin S and Lindsey A Holcomb
- The Ology by Marty Machowski
- Big Bible Science: Experiment and Explore God’s World by Erin Lee Green
- 365 Great Bible Stories by Carine Mackenzie
- Words About God to Help You Worship Him by Nicholas Choy
- Colour the Psalms by Carine Mackenzie
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for
Thinking Kids Pinterest Book Boards
- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.