Monday, March 3, 2008

The Lightlings – R.C. Sproul

© 2006 Reformation Trust, Lake Mary, FL

Here we have two of my favorites rolled into one—stories about Christmas, and stories for children. R.C. Sproul—pastor, teacher, founder of Ligonier Ministries, and radio/tv personality from Renewing Your Mind—has penned a pleasant little allegory that speaks to children. He teams up with artist Justin Gerard to present this book for children dealing with fear of the dark.

I’ll start with the artwork. The images are beautiful and inspiring to the young mind. Imaginations will run wild when your children are paging through this book. The book is worth your money and your time for the pictures alone.

In terms of literature, the book begins with almost too much detail before the story begins. We are introduced to Charlie Cobb who is afraid of the dark. Even with the specific details into his nightly bedtime routine, we fall in love with Charlie, and want to comfort him. But like his mom, we feel much better leaving the answers to tough questions like “why am I afraid of the dark?” to Grandpa (who conveniently will be over tomorrow for dinner).

Grandpa’s story, told to a Charlie snuggled into Grandpa’s lap, is one that tells of the history of a beautiful people who turned away from their maker and lost their inner “light”. People familiar with biblical stories will see the stories of creation, the Fall, and the birth of Jesus all wrapped up in a short readable tale. It is heartwarming and helps Charlie deal with his fear of the dark even offering advice on how to overcome that fear in the future. While the book isn’t strictly a Christmas book, it would be a great read during the holiday season because it explains not only the coming of the Son of God, but why He came in the first place.

Like many children’s books, this one is less written on the child’s level for reading than written as a “read to me” book. It provides great time for parents or grandparents to read with their little loved ones. The book includes some learning questions after the story to help guide discussion about issues addressed. Sproul also includes Bible verses to help parents in their discussion of the questions.

The Lightlings is an excellent tool to use not only in answering questions about fear of the dark, but also to aid in giving word pictures to help children to understand God and salvation as well. The beautiful pictures, the heartwarming story, and the prospect of spending special time with the little ones makes this a book that should be sought after by parents and grandparents alike. It has made me want to search for Sproul’s other children’s books – The King without a Shadow and The Priest with Dirty Clothes. I can’t help but give The Lightlings 5 reading glasses—for the kids.

—Benjamin Potter, March 3, 2008

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