Sammy and His Shepherd uses the 23rd psalm to draw a redemption parallel. The story follows Sammy, a sheep with a loving shepherd, as he meets and befriends Precious, a sheep in the neighboring field whose shepherd is less than loving. Each chapter takes a phrase from Psalm 23 and expounds on it. For instance, chapter 1 is “The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want.”
In the course of the story, Sammy meets a sick, skinny sheep through the fence. The sheep does not have a name, and she does not have a shepherd who takes care of her. Eventually, the sheep’s shepherd indicates he thinks she is worthless, and Sammy’s shepherd offers to buy her. He buys her for much more than she is worth. The mean shepherd laughs at the loving shepherd, but the loving shepherd does not care, because he loves the sheep even though, as she is, she is worthless.
As the story progresses, Sammy helps his new friend, who the shepherd names “Precious,” learn to trust her new shepherd. She has a lot of questions, and sometimes Sammy gets tired of answering them, but he remembers how some of the older, wiser sheep answered his questions when he was young, so he tries to be patient. Here is an example:
As the flock continued its climb to the high places, Precious began to worry
again. Troubled thoughts were running around wildlyu in her head. She was quite
startled when Sammy waddled up alongside her and said, “Good morning, Precious.”
Precious was so flustered that her words tumbled out on top of each other.
“Is it good? Maybe I should never have come. Do I really belong here? What if
the other sheep don’t like me? Will I like the high places? What if I get lost?
What if something attacks me? What if I fall over a cliff”
“Precious, Calm down. Look at our shepherd.”
They both looked ahead and saw their shepherd standing on a rock, watching over his sheep. “Can you see what he is holding?” Sammy asked.
Precious was perturbed that Sammy asked her such a simple question when she had such a serious problem. “He’s holding his shepherd equipment: his rod and his staff,” she answered.
“That’s right,” Sammy said. “When I become afraid or agitated, I remember that our shepherd always has his rod and his staff.”
Sammy goes on to explain how the shepherd uses those to protect the sheep.
Eventually, Precious becomes a fat, beautiful sheep and learns to trust her shepherd. Both Sammy and Precious learn a lesson. Sammy learns that helping a weaker friend is noble and pleases the shepherd. Precious learns that her shepherd loves her just the way she is and is always ready to care for her. She also learns that he can be trusted at all times.
Not only do I love the story here, but I also love the illustrations. Lovely illustrations depict Sammy, Precious and the Shepherd. I like that the shepherd is shown as a young boy. I think that will help kids relate.
The transformation of Precious is quite noticeable. I think the redemption story – the fact that our “Shepherd” buys us when we are worthless with something precious, his blood, and brings us into His flock to learn of Him and tell others of Him – comes through beautifully. Precious sometimes disobeys her shepherd, so sin is not left out of the equation.
This is simply a beautiful book, wonderfully illustrated and masterfully written. I recommend it to anyone who wants a children’s book that skillfully shows salvation without being overly “preachy.”
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write the review of this book, and it is an honest review of my opinions. However, in return for the review, I will be offered a free copy of the book for our family’s bookshelf.
I am also linking up to Feed Me Books Friday as part of this review.