Book Reviews

Book Review: Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much (Powlison/Hox)

Gus Loses His Grip: When You Want Something Too Much is one of the books in the second “trilogy” of the Good News For Little Hearts series.

Gus is a raccoon, and he hunts for candy. In fact, he looongs for it. It is his everything. He keeps it under his pillow to help him sleep at night. Until they’ve all been eaten. But thankfully, Easter is tomorrow, which means a basket filled with delectable candies. He dreams about it so much he can’t even pay attention to the Easter story his dad is telling him. His mind is fixed on one thing: candy.

At Mr. Hogster’s store, he lets Gus and his friend Lyle take some free candy. While Mr. Hogster is occupied with a customer, Gus and Lyle make use of the five-finger discount program and shove their pockets full of “free” candy. But Gus’ dad catches him, and reminds Gus, us, and our children that we all want things. Even good things. But we also struggle saying no to candy, trinkets at the market, and fishing lures. It isn’t only children who have the “wantsies,” but adults too. Who can save us from our unbreakable grip on stuff? Jesus. Only Jesus.

The book ends with six ways to help your child with the “I wantsies.” We start off wanting good things (like something sweet to eat), but can later end up wanting it so bad we’re willing to lie, deceive, or steal to have it. And in that case it is no longer a good thing. Our desires are powerful, so powerful that we can’t defeat them on our own. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us (2 Pet 1:3-4). Gus wanted candy so badly he lied to those who loved him the most, his own parents. So we repent and ask God for more of his Spirit to fill us and change us. Gus just wanted to take and take and take. God’s mercies are new every day, and he we can take joy and pleasure in that. Besides giving us his own Son, God gives us so much in this life that we can enjoy! We can be content because the God who made us will never leave nor forsake his people (Heb 13:5).


I love this series. It has cute animals and is centered on the gospel and how it plays out in our hearts, thoughts, actions, and lives. What child doesn’t want? What person doesn’t want? Who does want good things? And how easy is it for us to turn something good into something harmful because we want too much of it? I love reading and reviewing books. I enjoy reading, studying, and writing. But I have to ask myself (and Mari) if I am doing it too much to the point of neglect or apathy. I can’t neglect the good gifts God has given me: a wonderful wife and son, a family, a church family, and other responsibilities and joys. Read this to your kids. It took me years to know just how God would work in me to desire what he desires. It is to simply know him and his power that he works in us to love and desire him over all things. It is truly wonderful to see God at work in the lives of his children, even in the very smallest of them.

Highly recommended.


The story creator is Jocelyn Flenders who has a background in intercultural studies and counseling. David Powlison, the editor, was a biblical counselor with over thirty years of experience and a faculty member at CCEF. He wrote many good books and booklets on sanctification, anger, anxiety, and more. Joe Hox has illustrated the other two books in this series, and you can see his style here.

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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