Mike (M. J.) Thomas was looking for a book for his nine-year-old son to read that would teach the Bible in a fun way. Unable to find such a book, Thomas decided to write it.
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls is that book, while books. The first in this new series is, appropriately, The Beginning, a good book for children ages eight to ten.
Peter, 9, and his 10-year-old sister, Mary (who was adopted from China), along with their smart dog, Hank, are sent to stay with Great-Uncle Solomon while their parents travel to Africa. Fearful of spending more days bored than entertained, the children wander through the old house.
They are intrigued by a jarful of old scrolls that Solomon says “prove the Bible is true.” During a midnight stroll through the house, they take a closer look at the scrolls, and are suddenly transported to an unknown place. They find themselves floating in darkness, when they hear a great voice call out “LET THERE BE LIGHT.”
This continues until the children realize that they are witnessing the creation and the secret message of the scroll, which transports them back to Great-Uncle Solomon’s library.
The book reminded me of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books, with the older caretaker, the large house, and the mysterious rooms. At the same time it reminded me of the Hanna-Barbara cartoons we would watch at church growing up, where the main characters would travel back to Biblical times and experience the stories.
In this way, Thomas hits a home run. Through Peter and Mary, the child reader can experience the Biblical story in a new and different way. The writing is simple. The artwork is basic. Mary, who is adopted from China, does not appear Chinese in the illustrations.
The theological themes are direct. In Book One the main theological take away is “God created everything.” While the serpent in the garden does make an appearance (attempting to take the scroll away from the children), there is no heavy-handedness regarding sin or a particular theology of sin. Thomas’ main objective is for children to know that God is the Creator.
At the conclusion of the book, a suggested reading is offered. This includes the first three chapters of Genesis, which correspond to Book One. This would be a great activity or family devotional time for parents and children to do together.
Where Lewis’ Narnia left much to the imagination in how it presented the Biblical narrative, Thomas’ Hidden Scrolls is straightforward in his approach. Which meets the purpose and need that he is striving to meet.
You can purchase your own copy by clicking on the image below:
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader’s copy.