April 16, 2013
I am often asked to review different curricula, books, and other tools for homeschooling families. I work to write very honest reviews, realizing that products work for different people for different reasons. In other words, one homeschooler’s trash can be another homeschooler’s treasure:-) There are some products that are especially well-done… and others not-so much. But, when Moody Publishers announced the 60th Anniversary Edition of Little Pilgrim’s Progress, by Helen L. Taylor, I was overjoyed.
This is a book near and dear to my heart. I remember reading it to my children when they were very young . The wonder on their faces as they heard about little Christian and his journey to the Celestial City more than made up for the loss of my voice:-)
From the back cover: “For more than a half century… Little Christian and Christiana have captivated children in their quest to reach the Celestial City. A journey fraught with danger, pitfalls, and temptation, this retelling of John Bunyan’s classic allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, celebrates more than 60 years. The anniversary edition of Little Pilgrim’s Progress contains the best of the many illustrations used to depict the highs and lows of the Christian journey through life and the ultimate reward: eternity with Christ. This profound allegory will delight children ages 8-12, providing spiritually rich reading they will adore and long remember.”
What I Love
The beauty of this book is that it tames the darkness of the original in order to bring the material to a place where young people can feel its depth without drowning in verbosity and adult fear. The author remains true to the story and doesn’t degrade the message. I am usually one to read originals… we love the original versions of The Mysterious Island or the Henty books. But, Pilgrim’s Progress is so much more than just a story. It speaks to the spirit and that’s why it is important to make it accessible when children are young. The challenge of this story is what it brings to the heart, and what a gift it is to plant those seeds at a young age!
The book itself is terrific, but what I am especially excited about is the study guide, called the Little Pilgrim’s Progress Adventure Guide, that Moody is putting out with the 60th Anniversary Edition of the book. Accessible, thoughtful, equally helpful in an individual or group environment, the Guide utilizes different modalities such as vocabulary study, comprehension questions, allegorical concepts, literature elements, bible application, and character analysis to open up the rich lessons contained in the book.
I could see a homeschooling family using this book and study guide not just as a literature study, but also as a unit study for character development. If you want to dig even deeper, the guide is a great jumping off point for character study. It will also be helpful to anyone having difficulty with training children in heart issues. The common language that you develop when reading this book as a family is immensely useful when training or disciplining children. I remember using the book for this very thing when the boys were younger.
What Could Be Improved
Honestly, I don’t know that I would change anything. The language is right for the audience, the content is respectful of the original and the analysis is appropriate for the version. Kudos to Moody for bringing this timeless classic into a format suitable for younger children.
Grade from the Professor
I am excited to walk through this book with my own children one more time. They have older hearts now, and I suspect that this will be a terrific tool to draw them in to examine, in an age-appropriate manner, the motives that lie behind their actions. I was just getting ready to read the full version of Pilgrim’s Progress. Having just finished Anna Karenina, I needed something that will subvert the human condition for a loftier goal. I think I will make it a point to align my reading with Little Pilgrim’s Progress, so the boys and I can discuss both versions.
But, that’s not all…
(are you ready for it? I know, the suspense is killing you…)
Moody Publishers has been kind enough to provide one copy of Little Pilgrim’s Progress and the Adventure Guide for me to giveaway to you! You can register by sending me an email, by making a comment below, or by liking the Professor Mom page on Facebook. I will be drawing the winner’s name on Monday morning. Good luck!