Children will meet Tyler, an energetic boy who is excited to make new friends in his Primary class. They have invited Tyler to join their special club, but first he has to pass the test and keep the club promise.
With illustrations from bestselling illustrator Brandon Dorman, The Not Even Once Club is a fun and engaging way for parents to help teach their children the importance of keeping the commandments. Included in the back of the book are additional teaching helps for parents and leaders.
By Debra Coe, Submitted on 2017-06-21
I understand the basic concept of promising to keep God's commandments and I know the book has nothing but the best of intentions. However, when I read this book, my greatest concern was the exclusion it teaches. I am very involved in youth suicide prevention in Utah. In recent years we've had a huge increase in those youth suicides. One issue is that of LDS youth feeling they are excluded from LDS society and can't recover. This is usually because they are different, they are perceived as bad or "less than" for any reason or because they have "sinned.",
Christ Himself was the most critical of the Pharisees and Sadducees who thought they were better than others because of their strict adherence to their laws. Just last week an LDS teen girl I know was hospitalized for serious suicidal ideation. She is a good member of the Young Woman's program in her ward, but the fact that her family is very different and not active in the church has caused the other Young Women exclude her and that is very hurtful to a young person that is trying to attend church despite the choices of her parents.
We cannot teach our children to exclude others. PERIOD. I am greatly concerned about the exclusion this book teaches. It teaches exclusion for even the smallest perceived infraction. I don't recommend this book to anyone. Christ taught us to include others and sit with "sinners" to minister to those that need help and lift them.
By Brenda, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I have very strong emotions regarding this book. I respect the Authors credentials but I strongly feel she missed the mark. I have read the reviews. it would seem that there are many LDS people that think they must approve of the book because it is written by the wife of a Church Authority. She as well as you and I are capable of error. This book, it is all about error. Committing to do no error. This is an lofty goal. It is however very unrealistic. I would assume that those who approve of the book have never been on the receiving end of this sort of teaching. I have. I can tell you that even in the most well intentioned hands this is a recipe for disaster. I get to have a strong opinion because I have been there. We are not talking about toilet training where treats can be very helpful. This is a commitment to never sin. This is a set up for failure, it is a goal that can never be reached. So what happens when the child sins? They are punished by parents who make mistakes. This sends a message to the child that it is not ok for them to sin, and they will be punished if they do. But parents can do what ever they want. Do as I say not as I do? Belong to the club. All that matters is how it looks, not how it is. I was abused by these very same Ideals by well intentioned parents. I can tell you it was very damaging to me. I suffered very low self esteem. I felt like I would never be good enough no matter how hard I tried. I have suffered most of my life with a belief that God would never love me no matter how hard I tried. I never was a bad kid. I never committed any big sins. I tried with all my heart to be good enough for my parents to love me and for God to love me. It is an unattainable goal. It is a set up for failure, it causes a barrier between children and parents and between children and God. Only people in the club are enough, You must be perfect always. Where we not place here to learn? Was it not expected that we would fall down? Is this not why Jesus came? Are we not forgiven of everything and anything? I can tell you that this kind of thinking is a kin to child abuse of the worst kind. The child fears being found imperfect and unworthy of Gods love. If the Author is humble, she will read the reviews with an open heart and be teachable. If not, she will blame the reader for misunderstanding her intent and continue to push this sort of ideas. I can not express myself with anymore of my hear. I was abused. This is bad and this type of material must be stopped. Just because a woman of position, authority and respect, brings a message, does not mean that it is with out possibility of error. This message is the greatest error I have ever known. I have lived the consequence of this type of thinking. I was almost destroyed and I may never fully recover.
By Debra, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I think some of the reviews are very harsh. This book teaches children the possibility of what they can achieve. As children grow, they learn about repentance. It is emphasized over and over again throughout Primary, the youth programs and the adult programs of the Church. This book is a feel good book for young children. It is fun for them to have a feeling of belonging to a special "club" in a world that tells them that the WOW is silly. Children can recognize that the club represents an ideal. It represents how we would all like to be and in a very real sense how we all can be. This book is in no way damaging to a child's self esteem. Those critical reviewers need to look at the books children are reading in school etc. The world is teaching our children, through various media sources that they are weak, not good enough in many areas and that they don't need to aspire to anything aside from fame and money. This book offers them something they CAN aspire to and that they all can achieve regardless of their background, culture, etc.
By Gail, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This is a great book to help teach children about obeying the commandments. When I quit smoking with the church's help, I signed a promise to God that I would never smoke again. And I never have. If for some strange reason I broke my covenant with Heavenly Father and I truly repented I know that he would forgive me. That is what parents are supposed to teach while using this teaching tool. And that is what this book is, a teaching tool. Read the page people, it tells you how to instruct your children and grandchildren on this subject. I believe that those of you who are afraid that this will set your children up to fail have very little faith in your little ones. Or maybe you don't have any faith in yourself. I loved this book, and it was written by an Apostle's wife. I think that should be enough. At least it is for me.
By Rachelle, Submitted on 2015-02-25
The Not Even Once Club by Wendy Watson Nelson is the perfect story to help kids the understand the power of their choices, of peer pressure, and also the power of good friends. Illustrated by Brandon Dorman, this book has pictures that pop, appealing to children young and old.
After I read this book, I was so excited that I went to the website in the book and printed out posters for each of my kids. Then we read this book for our family night and had a great discussion about what "Not Even Once" means. My kids loved it! They began using Not Even Once as their password when they were playing games. Even my two-year-old could be heard chanting, "Not Even Once!"
I was so impressed with this book that I took it to church and read it to my seven-year-old Sunday School class. Such a great lesson in an enjoyable book! I'd recommend this book to anyone with children or grandchildren!
By Alexis, Submitted on 2015-02-25
It's a sweet story that I think young children will love and they'll want to join the club too. And the pictures are amazing! I love Brandon Dorman's illustrations! My daughters (who are both too young to read) have already looked through the book a few times and just looked at the pictures. It will be fun to be able to talk to them about it more as they grow older.
This is a great tool to start conversations with your children about things that we should and shouldn't do. From keeping the word of wisdom to not looking at pornography to dressing modestly and bullying - all are briefly mentioned. And Wendy Nelson even provides some teaching questions and resources to help your children better understand why we should keep the commandments.
I think young children could get excited about this! And the beautiful pictures will help get them thinking about it too. I think it's a great book and teaching tool!
By Renae, Submitted on 2015-02-25
With all of the detailed and animated illustrations, bold words, and bright colors, this book has my 2 year old daughter mesmerized every time she picks it up. The story line captivates young audiences with the promise of good things including toys, candy and a fun clubhouse filled with friends, as long as you keep your promise to your heavenly father, and follow the word of wisdom. The story shows how you can easily make friends with the right people who will gladly accept you, as long as you follow the rules. This story is easy to follow and the lesson is easy to understand. I highly recommend this book if you have young ones at home, as it will help them to better understand why you need to keep the club promise and follow the motto of Not Even Once.
By Becca, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I wanted to like this book--I really did. I remember making a promise when I was young that I would never, ever watch an rated R movie, and I never have. So I picked it up, hoping to read it with my 4 primary age kids and talk about it. In the end, I decided not to read it to them at all. Because if my kids internalize this, and then sin (which they will), then I'm afraid they will kick THEMSELVES out of the church ("the club") out of shame. It's just a dangerous message. I'd love to see more emphasis on making good choices, and repenting when you don't. Like if Tyler had broken one of the commandments, and there was a way back into the club maybe???
By Lisa, Submitted on 2015-02-25
The Not Even Once Club is a very cute book discussing the importance of making good choices.
Tyler is a new boy to the neighborhood. He makes some friends at church and they invite him to be a member of their club. The name of the club is Not Even Once. To be a member of the club he needs to commit to not doing drugs, viewing pornography, stealing, cheating, etc. He needs to promise this even if he is teased.
I loved the message to children this book conveys. I know I have said this in the past and I firmly believe that books offer a starting point for parents to talk to their children. By reading principles or concepts it's a non-threatening tool to lead to meaningful discussion.
The illustrations are adorable and fit nicely with the written words.
By Melanie, Submitted on 2015-02-25
(3.5 stars) I'm mixed on this book and have so many different thoughts that I hope what I say will make sense. I liked the overall message in this book but there were a couple of things that concerned me. I read this to my children, who are 12 and 9, to see what they thought about this book and they liked it as well. The kids in the book pledge to not smoke, drink alcohol, lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, bully, dress immodestly, etc. These are all things I've been teaching my children since they were young and I try to live this way myself. This led to a discussion of "So, what would happen if you took this pledge and then broke it?" We then were able to discuss repentance and forgiveness and getting back on track right away. We all make mistakes and I think it's great to aspire each day to be a little bit better than you were the day before. Knowing what you're striving for helps to accomplish that.
I had great friends growing up and know that the friends my children choose will have a huge impact on how they turn out. I am grateful that they also have great friends. Not all their friends believe the same things we do, either, but they are still great kids.
In thinking of a real life application of this club, I would be concerned that a club like the one in this book can be exclusive. I have a brother-in-law that was raised in Utah and he wasn't LDS. One day, he saw some kids jumping on an old rubber tire and having fun. He asked to join them and they said he couldn't because he wasn't a Mormon. That cut him pretty deep. He is now a member of the church but that is still a hurtful memory. I wouldn't want my children to do that to anyone else because they weren't part of their club.
I also would worry about how my children would feel if they made a mistake. Would they feel like they were the worst person in the world and not worthy to be friends with the other kids anymore? I would hope not but kids' understanding is different than mine as an adult, and I can actually see my daughter feeling this way. Also, would they feel comfortable talking to me about it or would they keep it inside because they wouldn't want me to be disappointed in them? I would love to see a second book written that deals with someone making a mistake and how that person deals with it and how the rest of the group deals with it as well.
The illustrations are amazing! The tree house is very cool and looks like a fun place to hang out. The illustrator, Brandon Dorman, has worked on several of our favorite books so that was fun to learn!
I would highly recommend reading this book with your children so you can have discussions with them. There is a guide at the end that lists some great resources and ideas to get discussions going.
By Stephanie, Submitted on 2015-02-25
In this picture book, new-kid-in-the-ward, Tyler visits his new primary friends in their tree house club for the very first time. At first perplexed by the "NEO" carved on the door he quickly realizes that the carving stands for "Not Even Once," the secret code word that gets him in the door to this club his friends are inviting him to join. After entering the clubhouse Tyler's new friends offer him some surprising things....like coffee and alcohol! "Haven't they heard of the Word of Wisdom?" Taylor wonders. Then understanding dawns as he hears his friends answer to the coffee, tea, and alcohol. "Not even once!" they respond emphatically. Happy and relieved to hear his friends agree to the Word of Wisdom Tyler realizes he passed the test to join the Not Even Once Club. He receives a special certificate with a pledge agreeing to follow the commandments and is officially welcomed into the club! I thought this was a cute book that is very appropriate for kids of all ages. This book is a perfect fit for family home evening. The final page offers a guide for parents and children where the principles of the gospel, modesty & pornography, obedience and repentance are broken down into sections for discussion. Quotes, references to talks from The Friend, and scripture references offer a lot of insight into just how important it is to our Heavenly Father that we stay away from the things that will cause us spiritual and physical harm. You also have an opportunity to download your own "Not Even Once Certificate" and deeper discussion questions for kids ages 8-11.
By Jeff, Submitted on 2015-02-25
All of us want our young children to make good choices, be chaste and adhere to the word of wisdom. But do we really want to teach our kids that if they make a mistake they will be ostricized. Or worse yet to shun people who don't approach the gospel in their family identically to ours? Should you not be friends with someone who drinks a coke for example? This book is clearly well intentioned, but certainly does not seem to teach the gospel as Christ would.
By Courtney, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I have noticed that a few parents are concerned that this book in somehow contrary to the Atonement. I understand why you think that but I completely disagree. Repentance is real and the Atonement is a wonderful and necessary gift to us. We will all make mistakes and would be completely lost without it. That being said, we are told “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” We all know it’s impossible for we humans to be perfect, but there are a few things in which perfection IS possible. It IS possible to be perfect with the Word of Wisdom. It IS possible to be perfectly chaste. It IS possible never to steal and never to cheat. Just because we embrace the atonement doesn’t mean we can’t teach our children to aim for following these commandments with perfection. For the rest of my review go to http://ordinaryhappilyeverafter.com/blog/2013/09/not-even-once-club-review/
By Teresa, Submitted on 2015-02-25
But I don't know if the message it will send out is exactly what the authors hoped for.I think that the idea of telling yourself "Not even once" is fine. I have never drank or smoked. But the idea of forming a club and excluding people that don't believe exactly as you?
I think those kids are going to miss out on a lot of really wonderful friends and they are going to give themselves and the church a bad name. The idea that people that have drank tea or coffee are now damaged and not worthy of being included in ones circle of friends is very limiting. Maybe if they tweaked the story a little it would be better. Having a support system is good. This kind of support system...not so good.
By Heidi, Submitted on 2015-02-25
A cute, beautifully illustrated book about the importance of obeying God's commandments. The book refers to specific LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormon) beliefs so some background might be needed for those who aren't members. Tyler has joined a new Primary class and has been invited to join a club called the Not Even Once club. This club is made up of children who have committed to 'not even once' try coffee, tea, alcohol, pornography, lie, cheat, steal, or dress immodestly. The story follows Tyler's entry into the club and 'passing' the test. There is also a page at the back of the book for parents to help them discuss things with their children. I also appreciated the mention of repentance since after all we all make mistakes. The illustrations are typical gorgeous Brandon Dorman. There's a reason he is one of my favorite illustrators.
By Heather, Submitted on 2015-02-25
The purpose of the book is to focus on making a decision to be obedient before you come face to face with it which is a great principle! Reading the book is a way to get some discussions started with your kids about different commandments. It doesn't go into great depth about the different commandments- so just know that you will want to have your own discussions about those, and the book may bring up questions).
At the back of the book is a Guide for Parents at the back of the book that lists suggested questions to discuss with your children about some of the commandments that are briefly touched on in the book (including topics like the law of chastity and not looking at pornography- topics that you may not have touched on very much with your young children). In the guide, you will find a section about Obedience and a section about Repentance (something that will be very important to teach your kids in conjunction with the subject of obedience which is teachable with the help of the story in the book).
I would love to see Wendy come out with a second book that focuses on the atonement because of course we're never going to get through life without committing any sins.
That being said, there are some commandments that are easier to make life-long commitments to than others and this book highlights those.
By Jeanine, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Please do not buy this book. Where is the Atonement? How many people leave the Church because they feel they can never measure up? Are we now going to ingrain that in our Primary children? This book is the opposite of grace. My children will learn that His grace is sufficient, and that the reason to make good choices is out of love for the Savior who will save them in spite of their mistakes when they repent. We can do SO much better than this.
By Alison, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Why would we want to read our children a book that teaches that you need to be perfect in order to belong!! The idea that in order to be a "member of the club" you don't make mistakes or you can't be part of the "club" is terrible and damaging. All of us are going to make mistakes! The other thing is this doesn't teach children the real reasons for making certain choices and why those might be healthier... it paints it as if you want to belong you do what the club requires. If you don't want to be left out you agree to the club "rules". Not at all the message we should be giving children.
By Paul, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I will not let my child read this book - NOT EVEN ONCE! What happens to the child that will stumble and fall, is he allowed in the club anymore? He's booted from the club! It takes just ONE day until that club house is empty. We are all sinners and we all make mistakes. Let's get Jesus back into our dialog not on the back page in the small print. The message in this book is just wrong.
By andrea, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Great book with an excellent message that's told in a way that children can understand the importance of doing what's right. I'm aware that there is a campaign by a particular group of people who are opposed to this book, so they are encouraging as many people as possible to write negative reviews--whether they've read the book or not. How sad! If only they would take heed to the message this book offers! Our kids need more messages like this--great book!!