For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Charles Spurgeon: The Prince of Preachers by Christian Timothy George

First, I believe I am supposed to issue a disclaimer to the effect that I received this e-book from Christian Focus 4 Kids in return for a review. I hope that’s legal enough.

Second, this is my first review of a “dramatic” biography. I do not usually review this type of book, or fiction for that matter, so bear with me.

JJJJ (out of 5)

Charles Spurgeon: The Prince of Preachers by Christian Timothy George is a very good “dramatic” biography for children. It covers key moments in Spurgeon’s life and career and gives the reader a good understanding of one of the greatest Christian preachers of recent memory.

Spurgeon’s life story can be an inspiration to young people today who think they must wait until they are older, perhaps graduated from seminary, before they can be of any service to God. It’s also a great example of complete trust and faith in the will of God. This biography conveys these points clearly.

I think the format of a more dramatic style will help the story become more engrained in the reader's mind as opposed to a simple factual telling of things as they happened as is more common in biographies. Dramatic style helps the young reader to better connect with the characters and understand them as fellow human beings, not simply pieces of history to be researched.

After the story there are many helpful resources available to the reader, including a section entitled “Further Thinking Topics.” These encourage the reader to think more about what he or she has just read in each chapter. It is a very helpful section; however, I would have found it more useful if each of these was immediately behind its respective chapter. This is especially due to the content of the first chapter, the only chapter with which I have a major problem.

The first chapter begins the mythical account of Queen Victoria’s desire visit to the Metropolitan Tabernacle. This account is then finished in the tenth, and final, chapter. Since there is absolutely no proof that this ever occurred, I was surprised to find it written in the book as fact. There is an author’s note at the end of the book that explains that it may not have happened (and that, in fact, there is no evidence that it did), and it is also discussed in the Further Thinking Topics section. But it adds nothing to the story, and instead could possibly detract from belief in the rest of what is written. Since this is a book for children, the mythology of the visit should have been pointed out in some way immediately. If a child were to read the typical one chapter a day (what I would require of my child) with weekends off, he or she would spend nearly two weeks thinking that Queen Victoria did indeed go to see Spurgeon preach.

Aside from a few typos, the worst (or funniest) of which being “ninetieth” written instead of “nineteenth” to describe the century, the rest being rather inconsequential,  the content is good enough to make me highly recommend it with the qualification that the child be advised to read the Further Thinking Topics section for Chapter One immediately after reading the chapter. Most children will not do this sort of thing of their own accord but by and large read books sequentially from page one to page 100. This is particularly true of e-books.


Thanks to CF4K for making this offer available. I really appreciated the chance to do something I don't normally do. :) To read more reviews of this book, visit The Blog Tour entry on CF4K's blog site.

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