Catholic Kids Learn the Virtue of Kindness from St.Joseph in "Jesus Lost and Found"
In this year of Saint Joseph, Cathy Gilmore has dedicated book five of her Tiny Virtue Heroes series to the foster father of Our Lord. How wonderful! There is a great lack of children’s books about this great hidden saint. In Jesus Lost and Found, Catholic kids aged 4 to 11 learn the virtue of kindness from Saint Joseph - guided by a tiny green virtue hero named Eli who makes learning so much fun.
The Tiny Virtue Heroes series presents the virtues to children in familiar and appealing packaging. Each Tiny Virtue Hero book features one of 35 virtues introduced by a lovable animal character. In this story, Eli, an Old-World Swallowtail caterpillar, teaches children about the virtue of kindness as practiced by Saint Joseph. We meet him inside the biblical story of the Finding in the Temple. Our Blessed Mother picks a fennel sprig and places it in her basket, unaware of Eli clinging to the stem. Hitching a ride on the fennel, Eli accompanies the Holy Couple while they search for Jesus. The caterpillar observes the kindness of Saint Joseph in encounters with people he meets in Jerusalem. This is a breadcrumb story with a trail of kindness leading to Jesus in the Temple.
The story of Jesus Lost and Found is brought to life by Jean Egolf’s charming and often humorous illustrations with great kid appeal. We can see that she enjoyed playing with the character of Eli. I especially like the picture of the caterpillar praying with two sets of his many legs. Kids learn about the geography of the Holy Land when the text informs them that pilgrims walked the 91 miles from Jerusalem to Galilee on foot. This information is reinforced with a lovely map. The mere thought of such a long walk has exhausted Tiny Virtue Hero Eli who is resting on the margin.
A great feature of the Tiny Virtue Hero series is a strong emphasis on prayer. Following the story of Jesus Lost and Found, Tiny Virtue Hero Eli invites children to pray with him. The text of a prayer asking Our Lord for help with the virtue of kindness is provided. As in all the books in the series, Jesus Lost and Found introduces a Mission Virtue Hero, a heroic person who exemplifies the feature virtue in the book. Here, kids meet African Saint Josephine Bakita, the patron saint of Sudan, as ambassador of the virtue of kindness. Young readers are encouraged to pray for the people of Africa. Again, the text of a prayer is provided.
Adapting Marvel Super Hero language , Gilmore introduces vocabulary kids are familiar with: The virtues are God’s powers which make kids virtue strong and turn them into virtue heroes. There is even a Virtue Hero Character Card just like the Marvel Super Hero Character Card.
To reinforce the Tiny Virtue Hero message even more, you can find learning activities and gear at
Find out about Cathy Gilmore's Virtue Literacy Project on Virtue Works Media. Please, support this project creating tools for families to find virtue-rich books, videos and music!
Read my review of Wisdom Finds A Way, book three in the Tiny Virtue Heroes series: