On Easter-eve I was flipping through the channels on the television and found Charlton Heston. He was dressed as Egyptian royalty giving orders to the other Egyptians. It was, of course, the well-known film The Ten Commandments.
M. J. Thomas continues his Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series of children chapter books with the third installment – The Great Escape – by providing a slightly different take on the famous Moses narrative.
Siblings Peter and Mary hear the roar of the lion and are transported to ancient Egypt to solve the mystery of the hidden scroll. The children emerge into the narrative of Moses pleading with Pharoah the let the people go. Peter and Mary meet both Egyptian and Hebrew children that offer a different perspective to this well-known story.
The Great Escape is a fun book for young readers ages 6-9. It has plenty of adventure to keep children engaged.
This book lends itself well to educational opportunities. It could easily be used to teach about ancient Egyptian culture, including language. There is an opportunity to discuss how those who are not in power are often marginalized and oppressed. Comparisons can be made to plenty of connections throughout history, and how even today we see the same power dynamic at play. And while I was never a fan of vocabulary in school, there are plenty of new words introduced to young readers.
Thanks to WorthyKids/Ideals, I am able to give away one copy of this book to a lucky winner. Use the form below to enter.
You can buy your own copy of “The Great Escape” by clicking on the image below.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader’s copy.
I read a lot! From Batman comics to works of theology, current events to historical reflections. Here is a sampling of what I have read over the last several months.
A former speechwriter for President Ronald Regan, Noonan has been a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Her book pulls many of her pieces together in one collection. A gifted writer, Noonan is able to share critical observations about current realities without being overly political. But don’t let that fool you. She praises Regan as one of the best presidents and is overly critical of the Clinton’s and Obama. That said, it is important to remember that this collection of essays is being read out of context. Weekly columns deal with the present. Perhaps the best part of this book is the introduction. Noonan offers a glimpse into her writing process. For any person whose main form of communication is the written word, Noonan provides a primer in writing. (3 out of 5 stars.)
Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior, Ed Clayton, Candlewick Press, 2017.
During a road trip one summer, Megan and I made a stop in Birmingham, Alabama. There, we went to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. As we walked through the museum, retracing the steps of the Civil Rights Movement, we walked pass Martin Luther King Jr.’s jail cell where he wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.
Crowded with large families, summer school programs, and other vacationers like us, the Institute was challenging to navigate. I noticed a museum employee pulling a cart through the crowd, politely asking people to make a path for him. On the cart was a bench. I watched as the employee took the concrete bench to the Birmingham jail cell.
Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers, Pamela Kennedy and Anne Kennedy Brady, Worthy Kids/Ideals, 2018.
The latest children’s book from the VeggieTales franchise is a padded board book of bedtime prayers. Complete with colorful illustrations from Lisa Reed featuring the well-known, and well-loved VeggieTales characters.
There are short, easy to understand, rhyming prayers that can be used as part of the evening ritual of reading books before bed. The prayers in this little collection are designed to help child and parent reflect on their day and prepare for the day yet to come. Scattered throughout the book are verses from the Psalms.
Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God, Mark Batterson, WaterBrook & Multnomah, 2017.
Let’s face it. It’s hard to hear the voice of God.
Especially when we consider the multiple voices, alerts, and notifications we listen to. There are the voices (and tweets) of politicians, gurus, and talk show hosts. They are loud and overbearing. There is the constant 24-hour news cycle. And the notifications that pop up on our smartphones.
Then there are the coworkers, family, and friends who give us advice. There are iTunes, podcasts, and newscast. Then there are demands at work, at home, and at church. The demands on us continue as we pack lunches, help with homework, pay bills and manage money.
Our lives are full.
And we are supposed to hear God?
When God Made You, Matthew Paul Turner, Waterbrook, 2017.
Turner’s book, with bright and engaging illustrations from David Catrow, brilliantly connects being an individual with being loved by God. The book has extra emphasis on God-given gifts and using those gifts.
At times the text of the poem may be too much for a three-year-old. But with a parent’s help, meaning can be found. Children ages three to seven will enjoy this book. This would make a great addition to the resource bag for any Christian educator or Sunday school teacher.
Riley Can Be Anything, Davina Hamilton, The Ella Riley Group, 2017.
Do you remember in grade school being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a fun question designed to get us to think about vocation. There were lofty dreams of going to space or being a vet or a firefighter.
The question would come again during high school and college as we inched closer to the “real world.” It was a question that could be a stressor in its own right.
To be honest, I never felt like, “I don’t know,” was an acceptable answer.
Captain Monty Takes the Plunge, Jennifer Mook-Sang, Kids Can Press, 2017.
In this fun children’s book, Monty the Malodorous has a well-kept secret. He cannot swim.
To hide his secret, Monty declares that “Real pirates don’t bathe! Yar-har-har!”
But the not taking a bath thing catches up with him. Monthy falls in love with Meg the mermaid. It is Meg who tells him, “You’re a real nice pirate, Monty, but you smell like stinky boots.” Monty begins to consider rethinking his avoidance of contact with water.
Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God: The Scandalous Truth of the Very Good News, Brian Zahnd, Waterbrook, 2017.
Brian Zahnd has been on a theological and spiritual journey. And thankfully, he has taken any who are willing to go, with him. Much of this journey has been documented in his earlier books and through his sermons at Word of Life Church.
Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God continues to take us on this journey. Here Zahnd turns a traditional theological understanding of a vengeful God on its head. That is, the idea that God has utter contempt for humankind that was introduced by Jonathan Edwards in 1741.
Edwards’ sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, which I read for the first time in an American Lit class in college, is the main vehicle of this idea. A Puritan classic, the sermon is one of the prominent influences on American evangelicalism. Zahnd provides plenty of quotes from Edwards’ sermon in the opening chapter as he prepares the reader for the shift he is about to make.
Rev. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut (1843-1930) was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Born in New York City, Hurlbut pastored churches in New Jersey including in Newark, Montclair, Paterson, Plainfield, Hoboken, Morristown, Orange, and Bloomfield.
Hurlbut was a contributor to the Sunday school and tract work of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He served as secretary of the Epworth League from 1889-1892. He also served as a District Superintendent of the Newark District.
Hurlbut was a prolific writer. His Story of the Bible was written to help children become familiar with the stories of the Bible. These retelling of Old and New Testament stories were written for children ages six and older.