Choices: A Review of ‘Perfect Gifts’ (from THe Adventures of Nick and Sam, Book 1)

“The cost of obedience is small compared with the cost of disobedience.” – Saint Augustine

Reading Level

Ages 5-8

Review and Comments

Perfect Gifts is an excellent story about the virtue of obedience and the promblematic consequences  of disobedience.  The story revolves around a devoted family that includes twins, Samantha and Nicholas.  Their eighth birthday approaches and as with all soon-to-be eight year olds, excitement is at a peak.  The children wonder if they will receive the gifts they long for, and Nick cannot wait to see what his parents bought him.  He and Samantha sneak a peek at their wrapped gifts, but nothing goes as planned.  There are regrets and consequences for their actions.  Nick just doesn’t understand why his parents are so upset or that their disobedience has created a broken trust.

A.A. Milne once wrote “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience – well, that comes from poor judgment.”   The twins certainly rack up a lot of experience in this story!  While at a public pool, Samantha’s father actually has to save her life because of her disobedience.  On the twins’ actual birthday, the family plans a special family hike.  Before they begin, both Samantha and Nicholas ignore their parents’ advice to be better prepared and suffer the consequences.  Then, impatient Nicholas ignores his dad and goes to an abandoned barn. Let’s just say a run in with a family of skunks is a very powerful lesson! Yet even after suffering all those very tough consequences, Nick chooses to ignore his parents one last time. He secretly takes all the money from his bank and buys some so called amazing items from an older nieghborhood boy.  On the way home he falls and all his items break.  He is alone with the damage of his disobedience once again.  This time he fully examines his actions over the last few days and it’s not a proud moment for him.  Then who should come looking for him but his father! Nick asks for forgiveness and understands that he is able to start over because of the love and forgiveness he receives.

This book is an outstanding selection for five to eight year olds.  It would be a very good book for a child preparing for First Reconciliation.

Possible Concerns

There are no concerns with this book.

Further Discussion

“This series presents Catholic culture easily and normally, and provides opportunities for readers to think about the consequences of words and actions. Centered around the Perry family, Hope Springs was introduced as short stories in the Signs Of Grace catechetical workbooks.”

Read the other books in the The Adventures of Nick and Sam series:

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Catholic Resources

Use the Kids of Integrity website to find Bible stories for the virtue of Obedience.

Read “A Little Talk on Obedience for Your Children” from Finer Femininity. This article includes a “little prayer on obedience”.

Read these quotes about obedience.

“Help Your Children Make Wise Choices” is an article for parents discussing steps for “showing your children the great and good things that are within their reach.” A quote of John Paul II from 2000, included in the article, is surely a timely reminder to parents today. “Do not leave them alone when they are faced with the weighty decisions of adolescence and youth. . . . Guide them towards that genuine happiness that belongs to the spirit.”

St. Claire of Assisi [Feast day: August 11] Patron saint of eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry, and television  

Read these books about Saint Clare

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CCC 2197 The fourth commandment opens the second table of the Decalogue. It shows us the order of charity. God has willed that, after him, we should honor our parents to whom we owe life and who have handed on to us the knowledge of God. We are obliged to honor and respect all those whom God, for our good, has vested with his authority.

CCC 2248 According to the fourth commandment, God has willed that, after him, we should honor our parents and those whom he has vested with authority for our good