Monday, June 18, 2007

Children's Book Monday

The Family Pilgrim's Progress
by John Bunyan, retold by Jean Watson
Illustrated by Vic Mitchell

Here is a lovely version of this classic for you to read to your younger children - probably four and up. Corban has read this through on his own, and now we are beginning it together!

The Pilgrim's Progress was written as an allegorical tale intended to tell the story of the Christian's journey through life, with the desirable end being Eternal Life. John Bunyan wrote most of it during his twelve year imprisonment for preaching without a license.

The tale is delightful, with characters named Christian, Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Mr. Legality and his son Civility (from the village of Morality), Hopeful, Faithful, Goodwill... so many character-names we can attribute to temptations or friends in our own lives. Christian carries a burden, which he is not aware of until he reads a Book that he finds, and so sets out on a journey to be rid of it. He is rid of the burden fairly early in the book, but his journey does not end there.

It is a beautiful story, full of descriptive place names such as House Beautiful, Doubting Castle, the Delectable Mountains, By-Path Meadow - even a giant named Despair! Bunyan's introduction to his work is a poetic "apology for his book" that is a must-read, even if you go no further - but I guarantee you will!

This family book, however, is the same story as the original, just retold in words for a younger audience. But if you have not read the classic, it might be a good idea for you to start with it yourself, for then you will be able to answer any questions that might arise! Corban was concerned about the people of Vanity Fair, and why they attacked Christian and Faithful. I was grateful for my memory of the story, and assuaged his uneasiness in a moment, at the same time as helping him to be clear on the author's intentions in using worldly characters to pull Christian away from the narrow path.

This delightful version includes full-color, two page illustrations depicting different scenes in the story, which thrilled my boys to no end! Appolyon the dragon attacking Christian; Christian and Faithful entering the town of Vanity Fair, and the moment Christian realizes he shouldn't have listened to Worldly Wiseman and left the path. There are also other smaller illustrations interspersed throughout the book.

So, if you're looking for something to read as a family on a regular basis, and also something that will provoke wonderful conversation and point you to the Word for answers, this is a wonderful tool to help you along that path! Your children, when they are older, will delight in the original version all the more for having been read this one first.

Happy family reading!

9 fellow travelers shared:

Jane said...

I love your blog. You have made me cry, made me think and inspired me with your writings. Thanks

Joyful Days said...

Pilgrim's Progress is something I've wanted to read for a long time. Thank you for the incentive. I've been lurking & hope it was okay to join the fun with children's books.

You have a wonderfully encouraging blog.

TaunaLen said...

What a great review! I read Hind's Feet on High Places several years ago, and fell in love with the allegory. I don't know why I've never read Pilgrim's Progress, but I plan to read it soon. After your review, I think it may become a favorite!


Grafted Branch @ Restoring the Years said...

Uncanny. First, The Long Winter, and now we have both embarked on a children's version of The Pilgrim's Progress. I'm reading Helen Taylor's Little Pilgrim's Progress. It will be our 5 time through, I think; probably ought to look for the library bound edition. :)

Beka said...

Oh, how I love Pilgrim's Progress! I had never seen this particular children's version until now, though. We had a children's version called "Dangerous Journey" when we were very young. On the front was a picture of Christian with the burden on his back, and thus my brother Jonathan used to call the book "Heavy" :-)

Christine said...

I'm sorry to say that I've never read the original, though it's always been on my "someday" list. This version looks wonderful!

Lori said...

I purchased the dramatized audio of Pilgrim's Progress and it's wonderful!

henryteachers said...

I've never read Pilgrim's Progress and to have a family version to read together, I'll have to try it out with my children. We recently found Vera the mouse on video at our library, so we rented it and can't wait to watch it thanks to your recommendations for the books which they did not have.

Maxine said...

Where have I been? Has it been that long since I've been here? I didn't see this post! I LOVE Pilgrim's Progress!!! This is an excellent suggestion, Elise, and
the family version is certainly an superb resource for families with young children. It's my personal opinion that every true child of God should read this wonderful book by Bunyon.

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