Book Review — ‘You are Special’ by Max Lucado

Written July 13th 2018

Stumbled upon this storybook for children by Max Lucado and because I am a *child* of God, I read it

The story is basically about understanding your value, not from the world’s perspective but from God’s.

In a village, there lived small wooden people called Wemmicks (kind of like human beings) created by Eli (kind of like God). Eli carves each and every wooden person uniquely allowing them all to look different and possess varying traits and personalities. All day, the Wemmicks literally walked about giving each other a gold star or a gray dot sticker. The gold stars are awarded to the best looking and most talented individuals while the grey dots are given to those whose looks are deemed unworthy and whose talents are seen as lacking in merit. The qualities the Wemmicks used to assess if a person deserved a gold star was based on being pretty, having smooth wood and fine paint, being talented, lifting things, jumping high, knowing big words, or singing songs. The gold stars in fact are handed out to people who don’t have grey dots simply to award them for being better, while grey dots are given to anyone with no stars to remind them of what they lack. Imagine wearing the thoughts, feelings and judgements of others outwardly.

A sweet Wemmick named Punchinello always tries his best to receive gold stars from the other Wemmicks but no matter how much he tried to be cool and acceptable, he only receives gray dots for not doing well enough. He would try to be like the talented Wemmicks and jump high but would end up getting scratched, getting him even more gray dots. Dude got so many gray dots that people gave him more gray dots just for having many gray dots!

One day Punchinello (can we call him Punchi for short cos man, typing Lol) meets a Wemmick named Lucia who doesn’t have any gold stars or gray dots (and doesn’t want any) because they simply do not stick to her. She explains that the reason is because she goes to visit their maker, Eli and sits in his workshop with him everyday. Punchi doesn’t want any stickers on him either so Lucia tells him to visit Eli.

When Punchi meets Eli he is both surprised to learn that Eli knows him by name and embarrassed to come before him bearing his grey dots. To Punchi’s astonishment Eli does not care about the dots that cover his wooden body. Eli tells Punchi that it does not matter what the other Wemmicks think of him at all but that all that matters is what Eli thinks of him and that Eli happens to think Punchi is pretty special. Immediately Punchi lists a thousand reasons as to why he is not special — his paint is peeling, he has no talents, he can’t walk fast or jump — but Eli tells Punchi he is special because he is Eli’s, his exact words in fact are “you are mine”. Eli tells Punchi that he had been hoping he would come and that he heard from Lucia that Punchi might make his way to the workshop. Punchi then asks Eli why it is that the stickers don’t stick to Lucia. Eli replies “she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them… the stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love the less you care about the stickers.”

Punchi realises that he matters to Eli because Eli made him and it wasn’t a mistake. He doesn’t completely understand but when he begins to, a gray dot falls of him at the end, showing that the opinions of the other Wemmicks only stick to Punchi if he truly cares what they think about him.


Amazing story! Love, love it! This world full of Wemmicks is a beautiful allegorical representation of our world as it is. In Lucado’s book we see this picture of Punchinello coming to Eli — a reminder that as God’s children he waits patiently for us to come sit with him. This story reminds us that it is only when we spend time with God that we come to know his abounding love for us and our identity in Him. Through that time together we gain trust, we develop faith and we begin to feel secure in who we are and whose we are.

Definitely going to read this to my kids! Children will learn a vital lesson — that regardless of how the world sees them, God loves each of them just as they are.



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Set in Stone

Set in Stone


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