Don't Blame the Mud: Only Jesus Makes Us Clean

Only Jesus Makes Us Clean
Marty Machowski helps parents talk to their children
about temptations, choices and consequences

At some point in every child’s life, they will discover what guilt feels like after doing something they knew they weren’t supposed to do. That’s a positive thing—then they can begin to understand temptation, sin and repentance. However, those can be big concepts for young children to comprehend. Don’t Blame the Mud (New Growth Press), the new release written by best-selling author Marty Machowski, helps parents and children talk together about God’s plan for redemption.

For young readers and their families, Don’t Blame the Mud paints a vivid and accurate picture of sin and God’s plan of redemption. This picture book, illustrated by Craig MacIntosh, teaches children how to recognize the lure of temptation and the truth that bad choices lead to bad consequences.

Readers are introduced to Max, who takes the muddy path along the creek home, even though his mother had reminded him to keep his school clothes clean. At first, Max thinks he can manage the trail while keeping clean, but after crashing into a mud puddle, he tries to hide his mistake. Once he gets home and changes his clothes, Max discovers the stain of his sin goes deeper than the mud he can wash away.

When Max’s muddy trail gives his adventures away, his parents talk to him not only about why he disobeyed but why he feels guilt about it. In this lovable, relatable and heartwarming tale, Max learns his heart needs to be cleaned, and Jesus is the only one who can wash away his sin.

“I wanted a situation that would work for every kid, all around the world, no matter what culture they came from. From my experience, just about every kid in the world has heard his or her mom or dad say, ‘Don’t get your clothes dirty,’ and all kids have faced the decision as to whether or not they are going to obey that command,” says Machowski about how the book came to be. “I also wanted a fun character that would bring interest to the story and help children identify with the real-life draw of temptation and the real-life consequences of sin. The Mud character does both of those things.”

By clearly articulating the gospel, Don’t Blame the Mud helps parents create an environment of confession so kids can own up to their own mistakes—in the freedom of Christ—rather than place the blame elsewhere. Parents, teachers and caretakers can help children identify with the real-life draw of temptation and the real-life consequences of sin, understanding the value of God’s salvation through the cross. Instead of teaching kids how to deal with a problem, Machowski uncovers the real issue of sin and provides a gospel answer.

Machowski hopes Don’t Blame the Mud becomes a family favorite people refer often. “I would love if families come away with a better understanding of sin, the nature of temptation and a recognition of how quick we are to pass the blame and try to cover up our sin. It would be great if families adopted the title Don’t Blame the Mud as a code phrase for ‘don’t blame your mistakes on others.’ For example, a mom could tell her child who is trying to blame his sister for something he did, ‘Don’t blame the mud.’”

About the author

Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for thirty years. Machowski leads Promise Kingdom, the gospel-centered children’s ministry of Covenant Fellowship.

He is the author of numerous resources for churches and families, including The Gospel Story for Kids series, The Ology, and Parenting First Aid. His latest release is the children’s picture book, Don’t Blame the Mud. Machowski and his wife, Lois, reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania. They have six children and two grandchildren. He is also the Executive Editor for Children’s Resources at New Growth Press.

Learn more at He can also be found on Twitter (@MartyMachowski)

Craig MacIntosh is the illustrator of Don’t Blame the Mud. MacIntosh was a newspaper political cartoonist and illustrator for twenty-two years and the artist for the widely published comic strip Sally Forth. He and his wife, Linda, live in Minnesota and have two grown children.

New Growth Press publishes gospel-centered Christian books, small group, and kids Bible resources for discipleship, biblical counseling, and missional ministry. For more information about Don’t Blame the Mud and other releases from New Growth Press, visit
By Marty Machowski, illustrated by Craig MacIntosh
May 27, 2019 / Retail Price: $15.99
ISBN 978-1-948130-96-7
Religion / Christian Life / Children