During the last few years, I have read the first three books in this series with my two older children (now aged 11 and 8). They were excited to hear of another book in the series and keen for us to start reading it: a clear endorsement before I even began my review!
Each of the 52 stories is headed by a Bible text, which the story then illustrates in some way. The text’s message is reinforced as the story is brought to a conclusion. The stories are all short, occupying just two pages and taking only a couple of minutes to read straight through. That said, there are usually one or two questions to answer or discuss along the way.
Spurgeon was a great character, often funny, and his exploits stories do appeal to children. But the most important thing is for them to learn about Spurgeon’s God and Saviour. The gospel is explained, illustrated and applied directly in many of the stories. Others teach lessons about aspects of Christian life, such as prayer, singing God’s praises, temptation, and encouraging others.
It is good for children to hear about God’s power to save and, as these stories from Spurgeon’s ministry show, God can save many people and the most unlikely of people. The story ‘A remarkable conversion’ could prompt them to suggest someone they think unlikely to turn to the Lord, and then pray for them to be saved.
We have used the book as a devotional at breakfast time. I first read the Bible passage from which the text comes, then, as we go through the story, I ask some questions of my own or make further comments and applications. It is also suitable for bedtime reading with a child, or for children over 10 to read independently.
The book teaches clear gospel lessons in a way that children enjoy, holding their attention and leaving them wanting more.