Book Review: Pups of the Spirit

Pups of the Spirit teaches kids about the fruit of the Spirit by personifying the characteristics as playful puppies! This sounds cute, and the book itself has charming rhymes and engaging illustrations, but I found the spiritual content of the book very disappointing. First of all, the fruit of the Spirit is a thing, not a list of things – the Spirit doesn’t produce nine types of fruit in different people.

In addition to promoting this basic misunderstanding of what the fruit of the Spirit means, the characterization of each pup is oversimplified in my opinion. Kay, the “kind” puppy, likes to knit gifts for her friends and give them away, although they don’t always fit; “peaceful” Pete doesn’t worry or fight, just snoozes in his hammock! These are cute images, and they do give children an example of each quality, but overall I feel that the book is misleading.

“These pups show us how God wants us to be – each with a special trait he likes to see.”

The fruit of the Spirit is not a laundry list of how Christians should act to earn God’s favour – the fruit of the Spirit is the product of God’s work in our lives. Kids are so eager to please, and I think that sometimes adults take advantage of that, telling kids they should behave nicely so that God will be happy and love them more. Unfortunately, that lays the groundwork for kids to feel insecure in their relationship with God when they realize they can’t be perfect all the time. I would be really sad for a child to feel impatient and then wonder whether God is displeased with them because they aren’t showing the fruits of the spirit. Ugh.

So perhaps I bring a little bit of baggage to this adorable book, but I asked two other people to look it over and see if I’m crazy, and they agreed that the book fell flat for them as well. I’d give it two out of five stars – the illustrations are wonderful, and the language/rhyme is really pleasant, but the content itself is unhelpful in my opinion.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review through

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