Book Review: Max Lucado’s “You Are Special”


“You are Special” – Max Lucado

Max Lucado delivers a surprisingly powerful and redemptive message in this children’s story, a suggested read for youngsters and adults alike. 

Sometimes it takes child-like allegory to fully grasp the craftsmanship and careful touch of our Father. Max Lucado provides just that and more with this illustrated book that’s elementary yet transformational. You may not find the biblical message of identity more artfully portrayed than in this
mini book.

Grade- A

It’s not often that we review children’s books but Max Lucado’s ‘You Are Special’ proved to be a special case worthy of consideration. We recommend it!

The Craft

In the world of Wemmicks, the population is comprised of small wooden people (Wemmicks), each unique but with a common creator, the woodworker. Lucado’s fable follows Punchinello, a clumsy Wemmick very unlike most others. Each of Punchinello’s shortcomings are easily spotted by his peers and labeled accordingly by dots, which are placed all over his body. Stars, on the other hand, signify beauty and appearance, however gilded and worldly they may be. These appear on the Wemmicks that are pretty and smooth, with fine paint. As Punchinello’s dots accrue, and along with them their stinging stigma, they quickly become his shame. His quest for identity, value and purpose becomes the plot of this short story and its dynamic message of redemption.

The Craftsman

Eli is an almost mythical craftsman whose workshop on the hill is the creative studio for all life in the world of the Wemmicks. Each quirk, however distinguishing or subtle, was etched in Eli’s woodworking shop. When Punchinello finds out that he has been ‘fearfully and wonderfully made‘ and is special and valuable in the eyes of the master craftsman, his entire worldview changes. In one conversation Eli removes Punchinello’s guilt and shame, never again to return. Eli, a symbol of God the Father, is presented in this tale befittingly as a gentle creator with a deep love for his creation.

“You know my name?” the little Wemmick asked. ‘Of course I do. I made you.”

The Message

“You are Special” is a simple book indeed, but it carries a very profound message. It’s the message of identity. It’s the story of Jesus on the cross and God declaring our worth and importance. We are special because our Father considers us special. Punchinello’s transformation is our transformation if we receive our creator’s mark and truly believe that we’ve been set apart and made totally and unalterably special.

Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel