The past twenty years have seen a renaissance in Protestant interest in church history. As that renaissance has flourished, we’ve seen it start to affect the world of children’s books with the publication of works like Saint Patrick the Forgiver by Ned Bustard.
This little book from IVP is excellent. While I can’t speak to the meter, the rhyme scheme is solid and the narrative moves forward at a decent pace. The art is solid as well (though as with meter, I’m not much of an art critic so take that for what it’s worth).
Just as important, the message here is solid. Patrick was kidnapped from Roman Britain, sold into slavery in Ireland, converted, escaped, and went back to Ireland to share the Gospel while forgiving those who had wronged him. The message of forgiveness through Christ, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the triumph of worship of the Triune God over the false gods of paganism are all clearly articulated in this short book. We also get short references to some of the legends that sprang up around Patrick (we all know the one about snakes, right?) and the idea that he founded schools and churches across Ireland.
There is more of course to the history of the church in Ireland–the conflict between the Celtic church and Rome, the monasteries and their work in preserving learning, and so on. But that’s all beyond the scope of this book (maybe fodder for the next one?). Lest this review become longer than the book, let me just say that this is a decent little text to read to your kids and a useful introduction to Patrick.