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Friends and Heroes DVD Series Review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60189

The Friends and Heroes series ($14.99 each) consists of DVDs that seek to educate and build godly character while they entertain kids with Biblically-based stories. I reviewed the first two DVDs: Long Journey and A Friend in High Places. A total of 39 episodes are planned, as well as other resources such as books, devotionals, and board games. Created by a "dream team" of creative minds, the movies use excellent animation to illustrate the lives of first-century Christians. The result is movies that will capture your children's imagination, while teaching them more of God's truths and character.

Each movie was about 25 minutes long, and they seem to be geared to preschool through elementary-age children. The stories are engaging, with realistic characters and exciting storylines that include rescues and fighting against the corruption of the Roman Empire. The characters overcome their own fears and misperceptions by telling each other two or three Bible stories, which are shown in a different style of animation to keep things straight. The DVDs also include four lesson plans that can be used to reinforce the learning. The lesson plans include games, crafts, prayer ideas, and more.

My children enjoyed watching these exciting and beautifully illustrated movies. The story and dialog move along quickly but still show the complex relationships of the time--such as between a young Jewish boy, Macky, and the rich daughter of a high-ranking Roman soldier, Portia. We all loved the Bible stories and how their lessons were woven into the current storyline. For example, when Macky draws a knife to defend himself and his family against the Roman soldiers who were chasing them, his father reminds him of the story he had earlier told of Daniel and how he trusted God to defend him. Our only criticism of the movies is that the characters sometimes seem to turn to cleverness instead of prayer and faith in dealing with their adventures. However, I think the moral and Biblical values presented, overall, are powerful and effective. The Friends and Heroes movies can be a wonderful medium for helping your children learn, not only Biblical stories but also how God's word applies to their own lives.

Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2007