This is a really cool book. A non-religious, non-denominational book, it talks about all religions and how they differ and are similar in an age-appropriate manner. While it says grades 4-6, I would think younger kids would get a lot out of it as well. It's very Unitarian-Universalist in approach. Some reviewers have said it comes to the conclusion of pantheism. I don't really agree with the conclusion of pantheism being presented - at least that's not what I got from it. It's tagged as a "pagan children's book" here, which is far from the truth; it's merely a book about world religions which favors none over the others.
Age Range: 6 to 12
The depth of meaning here defies easy description. Through Boritzer's clear text and Marantz's vivid and humorous illustrations, the reader does, in fact, receive an answer to the question, What is God? Full-color illustrations.
From the Publisher
What is God? is an eloquent introduction to the ideas behind God and religion, and brings forward complex ideas in a way children will understand. It is written with a simple clarity and beautifully illustrated with just the right blend of seriousness and humor.
What is God? compares different religions -- Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism -- and their holy books, looks at misunderstandings and arguments among people of different religions, and talks about praying as well as feeling connected to everything in the world.
If you want to talk about spirituality with a child, or introduce them to philosophy or religion, or just help them to begin to center themselves and their feelings about the world, this book is a great beginning.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-- A provocative look at the concept of God that differs greatly from the Judeo-Christian idea of God as a person rather than as a vacuous feeling or entity. Major world religions are introduced in combination with the well-known teachers representing them (Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed), and whose words evolved into a library of Holy Books: the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, the Sutras, and the Vedas. Similarities are drawn among these faiths, showing common strands of truth and prayer as a universal tool of communication with God. Brief discussion is given to those believing in multiple gods as well as to those who experience religious persecution. Boritzer's attempt to synthesize and make accessible the many concepts of God results in the New Age concept/belief of pantheism. Marantz' Henrik Drescher-like illustrations are bold and bright watercolors, occupying full pages that face the poetic free-verse text. At times they serve a somewhat decorative purpose, but usually expand and elucidate elements in the narrative. The reasoning process used throughout may occasionally prove too abstract for many children, making this a picture book for older readers. It will be best utilized by religious-education teachers and parents. --Celia A. Huffman, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland