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A Peep Behind the Scenes Review by Debbie Lott

Mrs. O.F. Walton
Lamplighter Publishing
23 State Street
Mount Morris, NY 14510

A Peep Behind the Scenes is a delightful children’s novel, originally published in 1877. Like all of Lamplighter Publishing’s selections, this book was chosen for reprint with the goal of “building Christ-like character, one story at a time.” The volume is a beautiful antique-looking hardcover, cloth-bound book with gold lettering and embellishments, and retails for $23.00.

The story follows a young girl who is an actress in a traveling theater troupe. She lives with her mother in a caravan, traveling from place to place throughout the year.  To the casual observer, her life on the stage seems glamorous and exciting, and she is envied by many a young observer, but off the stage, her life is difficult, characterized by hunger, ragged clothing, and a grueling work schedule. Her father is unsympathetic and demanding, and her mother is her only friend and comforter.

As the book begins, Rosalie’s mother, who is very ill, tells her of her own life before the theater. She had grown up in a wealthy family, but was rebellious and ran away to marry an actor in the expectation of a more exciting life. Instead, she found herself cut off from her family, living in poverty, and regretting her choices. She hopes that her daughter will someday be able to reconnect with her family.  After Rosalie is given a picture of a shepherd with an accompanying Bible verse, the mother and daughter read their Bible and eventually give their lives to God. This new faith is all Rosalie has to cling to after her mother dies and her circumstances go from bad to worse.

This was a wonderful story! It was exciting, but not too intense for young children. The lesson of trusting Jesus as a shepherd was woven throughout the book, presenting the gospel in a story form. It was more “preachy” than modern children’s books, but I enjoyed the old-fashioned style.

My daughter said, “A Peep Behind the Scenes is such a sad but sweet book and is full of beautiful and helpful Christian messages. The whole story has a moral to not trust outward appearances and that there is no real joy in this world unless we stay near God. I really enjoyed this book because it mixed a good story in with some lessons that I think everyone needs to hear. It is good to be reminded that there is not true happiness in our lives unless we worship the one Person that is in control. I learned quite a few things from this book and I would love to read it again.”

Lamplighter suggests the target age for A Peep Behind the Scenes as 9-14, but as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed the story as well and found it hard to put down. I think the reading level might be difficult for many children on the lower end of the range, although elementary aged children would certainly enjoy the book as a read-aloud.

-Product review by Debbie Lott, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017