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Halfway Herbert'

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The Advocate

Halfway Herbert by Francis Chan

Reviewed by Melissa Lockcuff

"This book was meant to encourage my child (or so I thought), when in fact it encouraged my heart as a parent."

I have to admit, that when I first read the small blurb on this book, I knew that I wanted to order it for my son…however, it’s even a reminder to me, as a parent.

Halfway Herbert is a story about Herbert, whom everyone calls Halfway Herbert; that is his nickname. The reason he’s acquired this nickname is because everything he does, he does halfway; he doesn’t put all of his effort into finishing anything. He always leaves everything half done, including taking care of his teeth, doing homework, eating his food, playing soccer, etc. One day Herbert gets into an accident, involving his bike and his dad’s car. The bad thing is that when his dad sees the dent in the car, Herbert tells a “halfway,” or partial lie, which in truth, is a whole lie. Of course, then he’s in trouble, and his dad begins to explain to him and talk to him about living a life only halfway. With illustrations and stories from the Bible, including Scripture, his dad helps him to understand that living for Jesus takes our whole heart. One fact that I appreciate in the end, when Herbert finally woke up and realized what God desired of him, was that even though he was doing his best to live wholeheartedly….he still wasn’t perfect. This is a fact that sadly, is sometimes missed by a lot of Christians who strive for that perfection and fall again and again into that horrible pit that involves feelings of failure and self-doubt.

My oldest son seemed to listen and understand the storyline, although my toddler got a bit tired through the end of the book, as Herbert’s dad is having the serious conversation with him. So I would probably recommend this book for school-aged children more so than toddlers… depending on attention span. This book is full of colorful and sometimes hilarious illustrations, as well, though. Even though it’s a serious story, it still has room for humor, such as Herbert’s dog who is half bulldog and half poodle. On a more serious note, however, the author really tries to help the reader to understand that in order to live our lives wholeheartedly devoted to God, we need the help of the Holy Spirit.

This book was meant to encourage my child (or so I thought), when in fact it encouraged my heart as a parent. I don’t do everything wholeheartedly; in fact, there are many things that I start and don’t finish… even when it comes to my children, there are times when I don’t allow the Holy Spirit to lead but instead trudge along on my own path, somehow thinking it must be better.

Melissa Lockcuff: Mel is a homeschooling mom who never tires of reading with her two adventurous little boys. After working as a nurse and a teacher, she realized where her personal priorities truly lay, and she made the decision to stay home with her boys. Mel has since found a true passion for writing. Right now, she writes articles and short pieces, and she is also learning how to write literature for children. She loves all things blogging, and her personal blog, Real Heart Prints, has topics like motherhood; homeschooling; recipes; devotionals; crafting; reviews on books, movies, and other products; giveaways; and all things home and garden; etc. She currently writes reviews with the TOS Crew, and she has also partnered with a friend and fellow writer to form MamaBuzz, where she enjoys writing reviews for children's products and ministering/writing to women through that venue. She has started work on her first book, which she hopes to finish within the next few months.