Who Is The Strongest?

Number of illustrations needed for this story: 13



"The glory of young men is their strength." (Proverbs 20:29)

Once upon a time there were four brothers. They loved each other with a deep and abiding love that grew with each passing day and each passing year. They were the best of friends. Their names were Andre, Geoffrey, Leonard, and Tony. Many a happy hour the Glasser boys spent reading, working, playing, and studying together. But there was one particular thing that the boys especially loved to do together. They thoroughly enjoyed having contests to see who was the strongest. What fun the boys had. You might find them in the yard jumping as high as they could, each trying to out-do the others. Or another day, they might be throwing sandbags over the wall. They ran, they lifted, they climbed, and they did push-ups. They had a special book in which they recorded who won each contest. Each hoped to become the very strongest. But never did the brothers have envy in their hearts towards each other, or unkindness, when it came to these contest. Whichever brother won a contest received a hearty congratulations and applause from the other three brothers. The boys were happy, and life went on pleasantly.

For a long time, all of the boys seemed to be about as strong as each other. One time Geoffrey would win a contest, another time Tony would be the winner, or maybe on another day the winner would be Andre or Leonard. But by and by, over time, Leonard began to win more contests than the other boys. "I do say that I think you are going to be the strongest," Geoffrey told him, with a friendly slap on the back. "We are going to have to work hard to keep up with you," laughed Tony. Leonard just smiled.

Winter came. The boys could turn almost anything into a contest. What joy it was to shovel the huge driveway when it was turned into a competition to see who could make the biggest pile of snow. Each boy had a pile, and with great gusto, they pushed their shovels along, trying to see who could make his pile the highest. The neighbors must have watched with amusement as the boys went at their shoveling as though it were a great game.

All the neighbors, that is, except one. Mr. Dooley lived a few houses down the road from the brothers. He had some very strong aversions, and one of them was boys. He seemed to quite forget that he had once been a boy himself. He despised boys with a passion. In his mind, boys were merely nuisances and troublemakers, and human beings of whom to be highly suspicious. He did not think it was possible that boys could have virtuous ambitions or noble hearts. And he certainly did not care for those Glasser brothers. But the boys did not let it bother them. They had loving parents and a good life, and the ill-will of one neighbor was not something they were going to allow to darken their lives.

But alas, something greater than a grouchy neighbor would come that would darken their lives. One cold Winter, Leonard became very ill. Such a sickness came over the strong boy that his mother and father watched him worriedly, and a doctor was called. Leonard was more than just sick. He was deathly ill. The doctor feared for him, the neighbors feared, and most of all his loving parents and brothers feared. How could the strongest brother become so weak and pale? For over a month, he lay weak and unconscious, crying out in delirium from time to time. What a sadness settled over the once-vibrant Glasser home. Andre, Geoffrey, and Tony lost a great deal of enthusiasm, and they surely had no interest in doing contests. How could they run and jump and race and throw, when Leonard was not able to do these things with them? Their little book of contest scores lay neglected on the dresser, and everything they did was done with a much more somber air than ever before.

For a long time the family thought that Leonard would never recover, but with the arrival of Spring, hope came into their hearts, for Leonard awoke from his long unconsciousness and began to get better. Day by day, he improved, until he was able to walk again and enter into the circle of family life that he loved so well. But Leonard would never be strong again. His illness had left him with a much weaker constitution, and though he could participate in family activities and chores, he no longer had the strength for strenuous exercise and competition. His brothers felt badly for him, and they had no desire to have these contests themselves. Leonard found it disappointing, though, that they had lost interest in their game. "Come on, boys," he said. "Let me watch you have a race." "It's no fun without you, though," Andre answered. "Oh, come," Leonard pressed them. "It is disappointing that I can't be a part of the contests anymore. But it will be even more disappointing if you all quit. It will really do me much good to watch you play as we used to do together. Please, for my sake, do one of our old games, and let me watch you." So the boys did, and Leonard found joy in watching his brothers. He laughed heartily with them as they competed to see who would be the strongest, and they all found that the four of them could still have grand times together, even if Leonard participated only in the sidelines. It became very difficult for the other boys to feel sorry for Leonard, for he entered into their competitions with such a joyful spirit, and seemed to be very happy. And Leonard was happy, for he was alive and with his wonderful family.

There was only one thing that bothered Leonard. Mr. Dooley had never liked the boys, but he had pretty much left them alone. When Leonard had become ill, though, Mr. Dooley had been greatly annoyed that the whole neighborhood was so concerned about a boy, and his annoyance developed into a particular hatred for Leonard, a hatred even greater than his general abhorrence for boys. After Leonard became well again, Mr. Dooley took every chance he could to insult him. But Leonard tried his best to take it all in stride, and even went so far as to give Mr. Dooley friendly greetings when the man spoke rudely to him.

So life went on. Other than their unfriendly neighbor, life was good and happy. One evening at the supper table, the boys were discussing who would be the strongest. "Well, I guess we're all out of practice," Andre commented. "Oh, I don't think so," Father said. "I think you race and jump and throw with plenty of vigor. Who wins the competitions these days?" "All three of us, alternately," Tony replied. "Now that Leonard is not competing, there isn't a strongest brother." One day in the future, though, the brothers would find who the strongest one was. It happened this way.

One summer evening, Father wished to have some candy. "Wouldn't it just go well with my coffee here?" he remarked. "I wonder if we have some boys who would want to walk down to the store and get a little bit of candy for us to enjoy." The boys readily consented and set off down the road to the little general store which was a mile away. It was a pleasant walk. A gentle breeze was blowing, and the full moon shone down on them. Geoffrey, Tony, and Andre raced part of the way, always returning to Leonard who made his way along in the slow gait that was customary for him these days. They arrived at the little store, purchased their candy, and turned back towards home. When they were just a little piece from home, Leonard's brothers made off in a race for the house, and Leonard walked alone, carrying the candy and looking at the moon and thinking quietly about things. As he approached Mr. Dooley's house, he noticed that the man stood out by the road. He wondered why Mr. Dooley was standing there. He continued on, and reaching Mr. Dooley, he said, "Hello" in a friendly way, as though he didn't know that Mr. Dooley despised him and his brothers and all boys in general. The next moment, though, he was flat on his face. As he made to go past the man, Mr. Dooley stuck his leg out quick as a flash, causing Leonard to stumble over it and land on his nose. Leonard grabbed at his nose. It pained him terribly, and it was bleeding profusely. "I must have broken my nose," he thought. Rising, he noticed that Mr. Dooley was watching him with a smug smile on his face. Still holding his nose, Leonard said in a very kind voice, "I'm sorry, neighbor, for slamming into you like that. I should have been watching where I was going. I hope you forgive me." Mr. Dooley was shocked by Leonard's response. He had wanted Leonard to know that he intentionally tripped him. Did the boy really think that his fall was because of his own carelessness? Mr. Dooley watched Leonard with a dumbfounded look on his face as he walked away towards home.

When Leonard arrived at the house, everyone was very upset to see his nose bleeding all over the place. He had been perfectly fine just a few minutes before when the boys left him. Mother examined his nose and found that it was indeed broken. Of course everyone wanted to know what had happened, so Leonard told them. Father was very upset, and the brothers were angry. Mother cried. "I always knew Mr. Dooley was a bad man, but I never knew he was this bad," she said. But Leonard spoke calmly to his family. "Please let's not be angry with our neighbor," he entreated. "Somewhere in his past, Mr. Dooley has surely had a bad experience with boys, which is no doubt why he feels the way he does about boys as a whole. I want very much to show him that boys can be good and noble fellows with fine hearts. I think that he may come to see this if I forgive him and show kindness to him, in spite of what he has done." The rest of the family did not really agree with Leonard's approach, but Father and Mother figured that Leonard was old enough to make these kinds of decisions himself.

Time passed by. Leonard's nose got better, but it would always be crooked. The strongest brother had become the weakest brother, and with a crooked nose on top of it! But Leonard did not dwell on these things. He was a cheerful sort of a boy who always looked on the bright side. And he looked for every opportunity he could to show kindness and friendship to Mr. Dooley. He gave him a pleasant hello whenever he saw him. He subscribed to a nice periodical for him. He even had flowers delivered to him from a florist's shop, with a note that said, "From your friend and neighbor Leonard". At times, Leonard's kindness to Mr. Dooley annoyed his brothers, but they sort of admired him too for having such a spirit.

One day a very great surprise came. It came in the form of a little blue envelope addressed to Leonard. Mother brought in the mail, and handed Leonard his envelope. Opening it up, he found that it was from Mr. Dooley. He read it aloud to the family. It read,

Dear Leonard,

I want to write and thank you for being such a good neighbor. You have shown me that I have made a mistake in my estimation of you. I have come to see that you have a very good and pure heart. You know I have not been very fond of boys, but I have come to see that there really are boys who are wonderful individuals. Perhaps you think me foolish, and I admit that I have very much been so. I want to thank you for allowing the Heavenly Father to use you as a tool to open up my blind eyes and bring light to my stubborn old heart. You have shown yourself, through your forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness, to be a very strong young man. I am glad to call such a young man of character and strength my friend and neighbor.

Please give your brothers and parents my best greetings as well.

Sincerely, Gerald Dooley


Everyone was quiet for a little while. Father and Mother looked at each other. A tear slipped down Mother's cheek. Father laid his hand on Leonard's shoulder. Andre, Tony, and Geoffrey looked at one another. And suddenly, the brothers broke out into a loud shout and applause for Leonard. "Congratulations, Leonard!" they hollered. "You may have gotten ill, and we have thought you would never win anymore strength contests, but you have proved yourself to be the strongest brother after all!"

"Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Messiah." (2 Timothy 2:1)

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)




Illustration Ideas

Here the story will be repeated, broke down with suggestions for illustrations. You do not necessarily have to follow these suggestions, but be sure to read over this section before you begin drawing your illustrations.


Don't hesitate to simplify the illustration ideas for very little artists. Please encourage children to do their very best, according to their individual abilities, but remember that we want "Thou Hast Ordained Praise" to be an opportunity for all ages, and we do not expect "perfect pictures". It is highly encouraged that children of all ages get involved.

There are several illustration ideas given for each page. These are here for you to choose from, or perhaps you will want to come up with your own ideas. You should do at least one illustration for each page. If you want to combine several ideas in one illustration, or if you want to do two illustrations for some or all of the pages, that is fine too. Be creative!

You may prefer having your children each illustrate their own book. If you want to have your children illustrate a book together, that is perfectly fine too. Since each page can have as many as two illustrations, it is an option to have an older child and a younger child both draw an illustration for the same page.


"The glory of young men is their strength." (Proverbs 20:29)

Once upon a time there were four brothers. They loved each other with a deep and abiding love that grew with each passing day and each passing year. They were the best of friends. Their names were Andre, Geoffrey, Leonard, and Tony. Many a happy hour the Glasser boys spent reading, working, playing, and studying together. But there was one particular thing that the boys especially loved to do together. They thoroughly enjoyed having contests to see who was the strongest. What fun the boys had. You might find them in the yard jumping as high as they could, each trying to out-do the others. Or another day, they might be throwing sandbags over the wall. They ran, they lifted, they climbed, and they did push-ups. They had a special book in which they recorded who won each contest. Each hoped to become the very strongest. But never did the brothers have envy in their hearts towards each other, or unkindness, when it came to these contest. Whichever brother won a contest received a hearty congratulations and applause from the other three brothers. The boys were happy, and life went on pleasantly.

Illustration ideas: 1) a picture of all four brothers 2) a picture of the brothers having a contest 3) For very little artists, four happy faces would be good. :-)


For a long time, all of the boys seemed to be about as strong as each other. One time Geoffrey would win a contest, another time Tony would be the winner, or maybe on another day the winner would be Andre or Leonard. But by and by, over time, Leonard began to win more contests than the other boys. "I do say that I think you are going to be the strongest," Geoffrey told him, with a friendly slap on the back. "We are going to have to work hard to keep up with you," laughed Tony. Leonard just smiled.

Illustration ideas: 1) Leonard smiling 2) a page in the brothers' contest book, with a lot of check marks


Winter came. The boys could turn almost anything into a contest. What joy it was to shovel the huge driveway when it was turned into a competition to see who could make the biggest pile of snow. Each boy had a pile, and with great gusto, they pushed their shovels along, trying to see who could make his pile the highest. The neighbors must have watched with amusement as the boys went at their shoveling as though it were a great game.

Illustration ideas: 1) one of the boys or all of them shoveling snow 2) You could add a smiling neighbor looking out his/her window watching the boys shoveling snow. 3) A little artist could do a snow shovel heaped high with snow.


All the neighbors, that is, except one. Mr. Dooley lived a few houses down the road from the brothers. He had some very strong aversions, and one of them was boys. He seemed to quite forget that he had once been a boy himself. He despised boys with a passion. In his mind, boys were merely nuisances and troublemakers, and human beings of whom to be highly suspicious. He did not think it was possible that boys could have virtuous ambitions or noble hearts. And he certainly did not care for those Glasser brothers. But the boys did not let it bother them. They had loving parents and a good life, and the ill-will of one neighbor was not something they were going to allow to darken their lives.

Illustration ideas: 1) frowning Mr. Dooley 2) Mr. Dooley frowning at the boys 3) two houses, one with frowning Mr. Dooley in it, and the other with the happy brothers and their parents in it


But alas, something greater than a grouchy neighbor would come that would darken their lives. One cold Winter, Leonard became very ill. Such a sickness came over the strong boy that his mother and father watched him worriedly, and a doctor was called. Leonard was more than just sick. He was deathly ill. The doctor feared for him, the neighbors feared, and most of all his loving parents and brothers feared. How could the strongest brother become so weak and pale? For over a month, he lay weak and unconscious, crying out in delirium from time to time. What a sadness settled over the once-vibrant Glasser home. Andre, Geoffrey, and Tony lost a great deal of enthusiasm, and they surely had no interest in doing contests. How could they run and jump and race and throw, when Leonard was not able to do these things with them? Their little book of contest scores lay neglected on the dresser, and everything they did was done with a much more somber air than ever before.

Illustration Ideas: 1) Leonard lying ill on the sofa 2) You could add to this picture a doctor with a stethoscope or one of his parents or brothers standing by the sofa looking sad.


For a long time the family thought that Leonard would never recover, but with the arrival of Spring, hope came into their hearts, for Leonard awoke from his long unconsciousness and began to get better. Day by day, he improved, until he was able to walk again and enter into the circle of family life that he loved so well. But Leonard would never be strong again. His illness had left him with a much weaker constitution, and though he could participate in family activities and chores, he no longer had the strength for strenuous exercise and competition. His brothers felt badly for him, and they had no desire to have these contests themselves. Leonard found it disappointing, though, that they had lost interest in their game. "Come on, boys," he said. "Let me watch you have a race." "It's no fun without you, though," Andre answered. "Oh, come," Leonard pressed them. "It is disappointing that I can't be a part of the contests anymore. But it will be even more disappointing if you all quit. It will really do me much good to watch you play as we used to do together. Please, for my sake, do one of our old games, and let me watch you." So the boys did, and Leonard found joy in watching his brothers. He laughed heartily with them as they competed to see who would be the strongest, and they all found that the four of them could still have grand times together, even if Leonard participated only in the sidelines. It became very difficult for the other boys to feel sorry for Leonard, for he entered into their competitions with such a joyful spirit, and seemed to be very happy. And Leonard was happy, for he was alive and with his wonderful family.

Illustration ideas: 1) Leonard standing with his family 2) Leonard's brothers playing while he sits and watches with a smile on his face


There was only one thing that bothered Leonard. Mr. Dooley had never liked the boys, but he had pretty much left them alone. When Leonard had become ill, though, Mr. Dooley had been greatly annoyed that the whole neighborhood was so concerned about a boy, and his annoyance developed into a particular hatred for Leonard, a hatred even greater than his general abhorrence for boys. After Leonard became well again, Mr. Dooley took every chance he could to insult him. But Leonard tried his best to take it all in stride, and even went so far as to give Mr. Dooley friendly greetings when the man spoke rudely to him.

Illustration Ideas: 1) Mr. Dooley looking angry at Leonard 2) Leonard waving to Mr. Dooley


So life went on. Other than their unfriendly neighbor, life was good and happy. One evening at the supper table, the boys were discussing who would be the strongest. "Well, I guess we're all out of practice," Andre commented. "Oh, I don't think so," Father said. "I think you race and jump and throw with plenty of vigor. Who wins the competitions these days?" "All three of us, alternately," Tony replied. "Now that Leonard is not competing, there isn't a strongest brother." One day in the future, though, the brothers would find who the strongest one was. It happened this way.

Illustration ideas: the family around the table


One summer evening, Father wished to have some candy. "Wouldn't it just go well with my coffee here?" he remarked. "I wonder if we have some boys who would want to walk down to the store and get a little bit of candy for us to enjoy." The boys readily consented and set off down the road to the little general store which was a mile away. It was a pleasant walk. A gentle breeze was blowing, and the full moon shone down on them. Geoffrey, Tony, and Andre raced part of the way, always returning to Leonard who made his way along in the slow gait that was customary for him these days. They arrived at the little store, purchased their candy, and turned back towards home. When they were just a little piece from home, Leonard's brothers made off in a race for the house, and Leonard walked alone, carrying the candy and looking at the moon and thinking quietly about things. As he approached Mr. Dooley's house, he noticed that the man stood out by the road. He wondered why Mr. Dooley was standing there. He continued on, and reaching Mr. Dooley, he said, "Hello" in a friendly way, as though he didn't know that Mr. Dooley despised him and his brothers and all boys in general. The next moment, though, he was flat on his face. As he made to go past the man, Mr. Dooley stuck his leg out quick as a flash, causing Leonard to stumble over it and land on his nose. Leonard grabbed at his nose. It pained him terribly, and it was bleeding profusely. "I must have broken my nose," he thought. Rising, he noticed that Mr. Dooley was watching him with a smug smile on his face. Still holding his nose, Leonard said in a very kind voice, "I'm sorry, neighbor, for slamming into you like that. I should have been watching where I was going. I hope you forgive me." Mr. Dooley was shocked by Leonard's response. He had wanted Leonard to know that he intentionally tripped him. Did the boy really think that his fall was because of his own carelessness? Mr. Dooley watched Leonard with a dumbfounded look on his face as he walked away towards home.

Illustration ideas: 1) the boys walking down the road 2) the boys running down the road with Leonard walking behind 3) You could add to this scene a picture of the store up ahead 4) A small child could draw a picture of candy, or of a hand holding a bag of candy.


When Leonard arrived at the house, everyone was very upset to see his nose bleeding all over the place. He had been perfectly fine just a few minutes before when the boys left him. Mother examined his nose and found that it was indeed broken. Of course everyone wanted to know what had happened, so Leonard told them. Father was very upset, and the brothers were angry. Mother cried. "I always knew Mr. Dooley was a bad man, but I never knew he was this bad," she said. But Leonard spoke calmly to his family. "Please let's not be angry with our neighbor," he entreated. "Somewhere in his past, Mr. Dooley has surely had a bad experience with boys, which is no doubt why he feels the way he does about boys as a whole. I want very much to show him that boys can be good and noble fellows with fine hearts. I think that he may come to see this if I forgive him and show kindness to him, in spite of what he has done." The rest of the family did not really agree with Leonard's approach, but Father and Mother figured that Leonard was old enough to make these kinds of decisions himself.

Illustration ideas: 1) Leonard's nose bleeding... picture could include a disturbed-looking Father and crying Mother, or the angry brothers, or the whole family 2) A very little child can do just the faces.


Time passed by. Leonard's nose got better, but it would always be crooked. The strongest brother had become the weakest brother, and with a crooked nose on top of it! But Leonard did not dwell on these things. He was a cheerful sort of a boy who always looked on the bright side. And he looked for every opportunity he could to show kindness and friendship to Mr. Dooley. He gave him a pleasant hello whenever he saw him. He subscribed to a nice periodical for him. He even had flowers delivered to him from a florist's shop, with a note that said, "From your friend and neighbor Leonard". At times, Leonard's kindness to Mr. Dooley annoyed his brothers, but they sort of admired him too for having such a spirit.

Illustration ideas: 1) a bouquet of flowers 2) collage of a waving hand, a periodical, and a bouquet of flowers


One day a very great surprise came. It came in the form of a little blue envelope addressed to Leonard. Mother brought in the mail, and handed Leonard his envelope. Opening it up, he found that it was from Mr. Dooley. He read it aloud to the family. It read,

Dear Leonard,

I want to write and thank you for being such a good neighbor. You have shown me that I have made a mistake in my estimation of you. I have come to see that you have a very good and pure heart. You know I have not been very fond of boys, but I have come to see that there really are boys who are wonderful individuals. Perhaps you think me foolish, and I admit that I have very much been so. I want to thank you for allowing the Heavenly Father to use you as a tool to open up my blind eyes and bring light to my stubborn old heart. You have shown yourself, through your forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness, to be a very strong young man. I am glad to call such a young man of character and strength my friend and neighbor.

Please give your brothers and parents my best greetings as well.

Sincerely, Gerald Dooley


Illustration ideas: 1) Mother's hand holding a blue envelope 2) Leonard holding his letter, reading it to everyone 3) A little artist could simply do the blue envelope.


Everyone was quiet for a little while. Father and Mother looked at each other. A tear slipped down Mother's cheek. Father laid his hand on Leonard's shoulder. Andre, Tony, and Geoffrey looked at one another. And suddenly, the brothers broke out into a loud shout and applause for Leonard. "Congratulations, Leonard!" they hollered. "You may have gotten ill, and we have thought you would never win anymore strength contests, but you have proved yourself to be the strongest brother after all!"

"Thou, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Messiah." (2 Timothy 2:1)

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Illustration ideas: 1) Father's hand on Leonard's shoulder, and Mother with a tear on her cheek 2) the brothers clapping 3) both of those scenes combined to include the whole family


This book, once it is completed, will actually be a 32-page book. This is the minimum amount of pages we can do for a perfect-bound book. We aim to stick with the smallest number of pages possible, to make it financially easy for you to be able to get copies of your finished book.