Where Are You Hiding, God? is a children’s picture book by the Austrian illustrator Elisabeth Zartl. Originally published in 2013 under the German title Wo versteckst du dich, lieber Gott? it has been translated into English in order to reach a wider audience. Primarily targeted at children of Christian families, the book attempts to explain the concept of God.
The short story begins with an anonymous little girl searching for God in a manner that resembles a game of Hide and Seek. She looks in her bedroom, the bathroom and the garden before giving up in defeat. As she sits desolately alone, a gust of wind and a falling leaf prompt her to realise that God does not have a corporeal body, but is, in fact, everywhere. Exhilarated by her newfound understanding, she exclaims that God was in all the places she looked and that he is inside her, too. God is everywhere.
Aimed at children ages three and over, Where Are You Hiding, God? explores the confusion a child may have in comprehending the idea of God. For a child, knowing something or someone is there but not being able to see them is a difficult idea to grasp. This book, through the demonstration of someone their own age, helps to explain their questions and uncertainties.
Elizabeth Zartl’s illustrations capture the attention of those reading or looking at the pages. Filling each page with a full-colour palette, the drawings are child-friendly but realistic, making it easy to process, and accurately creates a visual narrative of the written words. The language is also suitable for the intended demographic and, although three-year-olds may not be able to read it themselves, they will certainly understand the story.
From a design point of view, the text and illustrations do not quite match up. The full-page artworks make it difficult to place the short sentences in a way that both elements can work together. This, however, is not the fault of the author/illustrator who would have originally been working with a German text.
Overall, Where Are You Hiding, God? is a sweet, short story that can be read to children or grandchildren over and over again. As well as being a source of entertainment, it introduces them to the beliefs they will encounter during their Christian upbringing and prepares them to develop a greater understanding of God.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon