Book Reviews

Book Review: Don’t Blame the Mud (Marty Machowski)

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Marty Machowski, author of The Ology and The Gospel Story Bible, gives a simple story to parents that is illustrative of how sin often occurs. In the story, Max is on his way home from school, and he hears his mother’s voice resounding in his head not to fall into the mud and get dirty. All he has to do is walk home, change his clothes, and then he can go out and play. It’s pretty simple. But then he sees a muddy path, and he knows he can just run along the trail next to the creek to skip stones and find frogs. Why wait when he can do it now? He won’t get dirty.

I understand this. I remember one cloudy Sunday before the evening church service my dad told me I could play outside but because it had rained all day I had to stay on the concrete so I wouldn’t get wet. Our church had large logs that served as borders to the parking lot. We kids would always walk on them to make our way around the parking lot. So, I naturally thought that I could walk on them and, even though I wasn’t on the concrete, as long as I didn’t fall off I could stay dry and still have fun. Well, that didn’t last. Halfway through the logs I fell off, and my shoes and pants got wet. Hard to hide that one. I don’t remember what happened afterwards except that I thought it would have been a lot better if I would have only stayed on the concrete.

Max gets the mud on him. Just as Paul personifies sin in Romans 6-7, illustrator Craig McIntosh personifies the mud. The mud grabs him and covers him. It gets everywhere. So Max sneaks in to his room, hides his muddy clothes, puts on new clothes, picks up a book, and jumps in bed as if nothing ever happened. His mom sees right through him. Max showers off the mud, but he still feels dirty. He then lies to his dad and blames it on the mud. He slipped and fell. But Dad sees right through it too.

Machowski presents the gospel story to kids in a way they will understand. It helps them to understand what guilt is and why they feel it. It does feel like they can’t get clean, but there is an answer. The first lesson is that we can’t play with sin. It will bite us, and we will wish we had stayed away. We blame shift. We lie. But Christ died to wash away our sin and to clear us of guilt. None of us have to fall into the mud. When we put our trust in Christ, we no longer serve sin (or mud) but Christ. The book ends with ways to help your child understand sin and ways to help your child understand the gospel.


Unlike the Good News for Little Hearts series, the illustrations here seem dated. They remind me of the goofy 90s Christian clip art that you would see on different computer programs or books. The illustrations do get the point across, and kids may not care, but the book doesn’t look like it was written within this decade.


Though the illustrations aren’t up to par with other books by New Growth Press (and The Good Book and Crossway), the message of the book is very important, and it is a good way to teach your little ones that Christ is the answer and that they don’t have to go to the mud.

  • Author: Marty Machowski
  • Illustrator: Craig McIntosh
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Age Range: 5-11 years
  • Publisher: New Growth Press (May 27, 2019)
  • Read a sample

Find it on Amazon and New Growth Press!

Disclosure: I received this book free from New Growth Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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