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The Red Boat (from the Seasons of Faith illustrated books series) Review by Krystin Corneilson

Adaptation of the radio script from Children's Bible Hour
CBH Ministries
PO Box 1001
Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1001

In a world where action games, special effects, and sensational stories are all competing for the minds of kids, The Red Boat is a simple yet engaging story of beautiful and lasting truth. Dylan is a young boy who decides to build a toy boat, sacrificing time with his friend in order to make the boat perfect. Unfortunately, on the boat's maiden voyage, it is swept down the river. Dylan's perfect boat, the result of hours of painstaking and loving effort, is gone. The story of how he finally gets his boat back is likened to the story of how God created each of us in His image, how we got lost, and how He bought us back. It is powerful and memorable.

The colorful illustrations by Jan Naimo Jones complement the story well. They are realistic enough to capture the essence and emotions of the scenes, but they don't overpower the message. Along with the medium-sized soft-covered book is a CD of Uncle Charlie reading the book. His voice is comforting and interesting for kids and adults alike. The CD can be used with the book or on its own.

The Red Boat is a "Summer" volume from CBH Ministries' Seasons of Faith series. Each "Season" represents a different phase of a Christian's walk with faith. Summer is "the season when faith grows under God's love and care." So far, there are seven books, priced at $10 each, all of which are available on CBH's website. The books seem to be aimed primarily at children 5-10 years old.

The uses for this book are plentiful indeed. In a homeschool setting, it could be included in Bible study, reading, or read-aloud story time. It would be well used as part of a homeschool co-op, Christian school, Sunday school, or children's church. It would be a great addition to a babysitter's bag or tricks or as a gift for a child learning to read. The Red Boat is a wonderful and non-threatening way to share the Good News with children.

The last page of the book, along with the last message on the CD, walks the reader through the steps in salvation: admit, believe, and choose. Scripture passages are provided for better understanding.

Pros: I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book myself and listening to the CD. It was even more effective when I interrupted my boys, ages 7, 9, and 11, who were drawing super heroes. They became quite still and thoughtful as they listened to the CD and looked at the illustrations. They all gave it a thumbs­-up. The more I thought about the story, the more people and situations came into my mind that I know would benefit from its everlasting hope and truth.

Cons: A soft-cover book has its advantages in cost and storage space. However, a story such as this--one that will be read over and over again--might just deserve a hard cover.

I highly recommend this book for all kids--even the grown-up ones--because we could all use a reminder that though we sometimes feel lost at sea, God loved us enough to pay the ultimate price to redeem us right back to Him, the Rock.

Product review by Krystin Corneilson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2010