Animals can often open our hearts and minds to the biggest lessons life has to offer. Children’s author Christi Eley has seen this firsthand since she was a young girl, and has taken the unconditional love that the animals in her life have shown her and poured it into her first children’s book. As you read through the pages of Mr. Flopsy Whispers from God: A Lesson on Being Still, you’ll be met with the message of helping your child find the stillness and peace that God has for all of us, from none other than a pet bunny.
“By connecting with animals, children learn to see and hear God’s love and feel secure as they learn to be quiet, patient, brave and trusting,” says Eley. “In my experience, spending time with animals opens you up to those lessons firsthand and shows you God’s love in a different way. They really do teach us so many things about life.”
In this particular story, the main character, Cam, is excited about everything life has to offer and can hardly sit still from the excitement of all the things he wants to do and be part of. He can’t understand why it seems as though everyone is always wanting him to “sit still” or “be quiet”—surely, they understand how exciting life can be, don’t they? It isn’t until Cam’s friend, Mr. Flopsy, a white bunny rabbit with a lesson to share, helps him see the beauty in finding stillness and exploring what God has to say on the subject. Cam watches Mr. Flopsy, a bunny he knows loves to hop all around, sitting in his favorite spot quietly breathing in and out, and wonders, maybe he can understand what it means to be still, too?
Illustrated by Aries Cheung, these two friends take a colorful journey together through the pages, sharing thoughts and stories. Perfect for children ages 3-10 years old, the characters, illustrations and rhythmic script of the story quickly grab their attention. Cam’s feelings of discontent and the questions he asks Mr. Flopsy about how to be still will resonate with readers, as they often receive similar commands and struggle with finding the understanding behind them. Eley does a wonderful job pulling the gentle and affirming words from the Bible verse, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), to connect with her young audience and drive the lesson home in a way that they understand.
The message within the story Eley shares is not only perfect for little readers, but adults as well. “It’s special that the grown-ups realize the importance of slowing down as they read the book. I’ve gone through my own journey as a mother to a very active daughter and I’ve learned to take time and be still myself. I want parents to take this same message away and know how important it is,” Eley explained.
As readers reach the final page of the book they are met with resources to help their little listeners dive deeper into the topic of being still, by exploring activities and scripture that corresponds to the lessons in the book. Each suggestion provides an opportunity to build long- lasting habits embracing the stillness the pages in the book remind us are so important.
Of all the lessons that she could have had Mr. Flopsy share, this felt like the perfect first tale to tell, wanting to write something that felt bigger than herself with a message grounded in spirituality and faith. With over 20 years of practicing yoga through her children’s program Angel Bear Yoga, Eley has a lot of experience in turning the message of “sit still” into a positive, rather than a negative. Mr. Flopsy helps do this by breaking down the barrier that can sometimes come between an adult’s request and a child’s understanding. As you read each page, you’ll quickly see that this pet bunny has a real knack for getting through to kids in a way that feels authentic to them, meeting them where they are.
Mr. Flopsy is a recurring character of Eley’s work based on her very real pet rabbit named “Marshmallow.” She is currently creating additional character friends for her upcoming books, but her 6-year-old white rabbit is sweet, playful and really is an all-around fan favorite! She has owned over fifty rabbits and can honestly say that Marshmallow (aka Mr. Flopsy) has more love to give than any other rabbit she’s ever had! “I’ve been doing my Mrs. Cottontail and Friends business [www.mrscottontailandfriends.com] for the past 11 years,” Eley shared. “I do birthday parties, school programs and offer surprise messages with Mr. Flopsy and my other bunnies to spread encouragement and joy.” (You never know what fun little outfits they might show up in!)
If you are interested in sharing the story of Mr. Flopsy: Whispers from God with a special child in your life, you can head to Amazon.com to purchase a book of your own. Don’t forget to leave a review to help other families find this incredible tale, so they can embrace the stillness and peace Mr. Flopsy has waiting for them.