John Calvin: A Children's Story Behind the Legacy is a
softcover picture book and accompanying audio CD that introduces
children to the life of John Calvin.
John Calvin is a fairly thorough story told from the point of view
of William Farel, a reformer who lived at the same time as John
Calvin. In the story, Farel travels to Geneva, Switzerland to visit
Calvin. Through their conversation, and Farel's memories of Calvin's life, readers are led through the biography. Small paragraphs in the sidebars of the book provide extra information about items of significance in Calvin's life: William Farel, Calvin's wife Idellette, the Geneva Academy, and the Five Points of Calvinism to name a few.
John Calvin could be used as part of a history or church history
study for elementary or middle school students. Due to the length
of the content and the reading level, this is not a book that younger
readers would read by themselves. The book is written at the reading
level of a fifth or sixth grader. While the book is only 20 pages
long, there is a lot of content on those 20 pages. For younger elementary
students, this book would primarily be read aloud to them or read-along
with the CD.
We enjoyed this book. There don't seem to be many church history resources available for younger students, and Tittle's book fits right into our family's study. Information in the book covers Calvin's entire life and touches on the themes of God's sovereignty and Calvin's obedience to God. Notes at the end of the book encourage children to remember that they can commit themselves to obeying God wherever He has placed them.
The book is quite meaty, and is most likely best read in multiple sittings in order to avoid wandering attentions in younger readers. Reading the book aloud takes over 30 minutes, not including any side discussions that may pop up.
Jim Hodges' audio CD is well done. This CD works well as bedtime or naptime listening, and as a read-aloud for the book. The only downside to the CD is that it is all on one track. On some CD players it cannot be stopped mid-way through and picked up in the same place.
We appreciated finding a resource for teaching church history and
the Reformation that was written for younger readers. So much material
available is meant for older students, and must be adapted down
or screened for younger children. John Calvin:
A Children's Story Behind the Legacy was refreshing in that we could pick it up and enjoy it as is, without any adaptation. It was an excellent supplement to our studies.