My wife is back for her latest review in the Kids Corner.
Pauline Press has released the first three of a six book series for children called Gospel Time Trekkers. Readers can follow the adventures of three siblings as they are unexpectedly thrown thousands of years back to the time of Jesus. These children are no longer just reading Bible stories; they are hearing them from people who lived them! The books are written from the point of view of Caleb, who has an older eleven year-old sister, Hannah and a younger six year-old brother, Noah.
In book one, Shepherds to the Rescue, the kids find themselves befriending a shepherd boy, Benjamin. Following Benjamin enables the siblings to learn what it means to be a “good shepherd”. Coincidentally Benjamin’s grandfather is one of the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus that first Christmas night. The kids gain new incite on a familiar tale when they hear the Christmas story from the point of view of a shepherd who was actually there. In the final chapter, this book cleverly explains how Jesus is our “Good Shepherd”. Caleb hears this Bible reading at Mass and now better understands what it means because of his experience.
The siblings are yearning to return to the gospel days as book two, Braving the Storm, starts out. When their longing is fulfilled, they find themselves now traveling with a merchant’s son, Levi. This young boy has a familiar story to tell the young time travelers; Jesus used his five loaves and two fish to feed the crowd of five thousand. Later in the book, they hear from Abigail who was present at the Wedding Feast of Cana and witnessed firsthand the miracle of the water changing to wine. After returning home, Caleb hears again of the great miracles of Jesus by his pastor during a homily, but is reminded that they experience the greatest miracle of all every day at Mass when the bread and wind is turned into the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Book three, Danger at Sea, begins with the siblings desperately trying to figure out how to once again step back into the time of Jesus. When they finally accomplish their goal, they meet Rebecca, daughter of a fisherman. Helping out on a fishing boat, Caleb learns firsthand what it takes to be a good fisherman. However it is through Rebecca’s story of her encounter with Jesus that both Caleb and Seth, Rebecca’s brother, learn an important lesson about bragging and not arguing over who is first or the best. Caleb takes this lesson home with him and uses it firsthand when he is at Mass the following Sunday. In addition, Caleb sees the gospel reading about the storm at sea in a whole new light; he knows exactly how the apostles felt as the storm raged around them.
These easy chapter books contain twelve chapters which are about five pages in length. There is a black and white picture about every other chapter or so. I read these to my seven year-old who is not quite ready to read chapter books but was very interested in the stories. Needless to say, she never wanted to stop. My eleven year-old, who is reading more advanced books, loved these simply written gems, as well. Each book could be a stand-alone read because the backstory of the time travelers is recapped nicely in each subsequent book. So if you wanted to read only one of the books for a particular theme or Bible story that it contains, you would have no problems following it. However, you may find yourself wanting to read the others in the series, as well! Each book suitably ends with a Where Is It in the Bible? Section. The gospel story or stories the siblings experienced from the book are now quoted using the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition. I especially like the last chapter of each book. The lessons and stories the siblings learn on their adventures are recapped through Caleb while he is at Mass – always very cleverly done. In all three books the sibling’s ultimate goal is to not only travel back to the time of Jesus but actually see Jesus. As they anxiously await seeing Jesus, so now my children and I will anxiously await the final three books in this Gospel Time Trekker series!!