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Paul, the Wise Preacher Review by Melissa Theberge

Carine Mackenzie
Christian Focus Publications Ltd.
01862 871011
Geanies House
Fearn, Tain
Ross-shire IV20 1TW
Scotland, UK

A small soft-cover book about Paul is sure to draw the attention of a young child, and that is exactly what happened in our home when I first removed this delightful book from the shipping box. Paul, the Wise Preacher is a thirty-two page book which fits perfectly in the hands of a child.

Immediately on the title page, reference is made to the author's reliance on the Bible for accuracy in the retelling, using the books of Acts and Paul's Epistles for details. While the book is written to be read aloud to young children or independently by young readers, actual names of people and places are used, which I appreciate. The author refers to governors and numerous cities by their specific and sometimes hard to pronounce names, rather than just referring to them in generic terms. These small details are what make this an enjoyable Bible retelling, rather than a watered-down version.

There are several books in this series, nine from the Old Testament, and six others from the New Testament. Each tells the story of a significant person in the Bible, representing both men and women. In Paul, the Wise Preacher, each page includes at least one paragraph, and up to four, with a full-color accompanying illustration. The art is bright and the brush strokes of painting are visible. The book is ideal as a read aloud for younger children of about three to five years of age, and as good practice reading for independent children age six and up.

At appropriate points in the story, the author makes connections about how to apply the Bible story lessons, or states what we can learn from the story, rather than just retell the story. For example, when the ship Paul is on is destroyed during a storm, all the people survive, just as God promised would happen. The author then writes, "God was looking after Paul even in these difficulties and dangers. God is still the same. Nothing happens without his knowledge and control." When we read Bible stories together, I usually add this kind of commentary when needed, but I appreciate it being included, because it helps an independent reader process the lessons learned through Paul's experiences.

Since the publishing company is in the United Kingdom, there are a couple small word differences that my children noticed as we read. The most obvious difference was in the use of the word "learnt" rather than "learned," but this does not affect the overall reading experience.

We have other books in our home that resemble this type of Bible biography, but the colorful cover and glossy paper of this publication drew the attention of my children immediately. Even a child who is very familiar with the Bible story of Paul will enjoy this book.

Product Review by Melissa Theberge, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2009