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Paul's Travels Review by Kathy Gelzer

By Tim Dowley
Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607
Grand Rapids, MI 49501

Right away the reader knows that this book, written in first person from Paul's perspective, is special. The beginning and end of the book are printed with authentic looking annotated maps of Paul's three missionary journeys and his voyage to Rome; six of the pages are big envelopes that contain letters; and the book is full of photos, illustrations, and historical facts that help the child understand the context of Paul's missionary life.

The letters are addressed to the Jewish leaders (including Saul) from the chief priests, to the Christians in Turkey from Paul, to Rufus from Paul, to the jailer in Caesarea from Nero, to Philemon from Paul, and to Timothy from Paul. Bold print indicates when the reader is to refer to the various letters. The language in the letters has been simplified, and in the process some of the meaning is changed. For example, "stupid" is used in place of "foolish." I also think that labeling the letter to the Christians in Turkey more specifically to the Galatians would have helped children make the connection between this book and the Bible.

My daughters (aged 9 and 11) and I found the letters difficult to extract and replace. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be for younger children! Also, if the various letters were labeled or coded the same as their respective envelopes, it would help children and parents in getting the letters back to their proper "homes," in the event that someone removes all the letters at one time.

One note on the maps: the color of the Mediterranean Sea is very similar to the color of the surrounding land, making it difficult at first glance to make the distinction.

The last page says, "After that, there's silence. We don't know any more for certain about Paul. We think he was probably executed by the Emperor Nero in Rome. But Paul also wrote to Timothy: 'The Lord will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.' " What a reassuring conclusion for young readers!

Written for young children, Paul's Travels could also be enjoyed by older readers who can appreciate the finer details. This would be an excellent supplement to your family Bible study.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2010