by Dr. R.C. Sproul
Published by Reformation Trust
The Lightlings starts with a scene almost all children can relate to. A mom is tucking in her boy, Charlie Cobb, and turning on the nightlight. He asks her why he is so afraid of the dark. Instead of answering, she tells Charlie he should ask Grandpa.
When Charlie asks Grandpa, Grandpa tells the boy that it’s normal to be afraid of the dark, and that many people around the world are. But he then tells the boy that many people are afraid of the light as well. Charlie asks why, and Grandpa says, “To understand that, I have to start at the beginning – in fact, at the very beginning.”
Grandpa tells Charlie the story of the lightlings, magical fairy-like creatures who lived in the light of a great King. Life in the King’s light was wonderful, until the lightling decided they wanted to disobey their king. The moment they sinned, their lights started to dim. They felt embarrassment, and ran from the king. They ran into the darkest place of the forest, and they were afraid of the light, because the light would bring he King to them.
The story continues and spells out the redemption story quite plainly. He King sends His son in the form of a baby lightling. Many of the adults were afraid of the baby, but the children were curious and crept in for a look. The light from the baby took away the darkness of the lightlings and caused their lights to glow again, but this time it was reflection of the baby’s light. They spread the word of the baby to their friends and family, and soon the lightlings remembered how much better it was living in the light than in the darkness.
First, let me tell you what I loved about this book. The writing is plain and the wording is easy for children to understand, without being too simple. I loved the illustrations by Justin Gerard as well. They fit right in with my daughter’s love of princesses and fairies, with bright colors and whimsical designs. The overall look of the book is very kid-friendly and appealing.
I also liked the parallels in the Lightling’s story and our own redemption story. In the end, Grandpa draws that parallel and tells Charlie that “someday, all of us who love this Son will live with Him forever in heaven.”
However, I feel that the salvation aspect was a little weak. I believe it takes more than just “loving the Son” to live with Him forever in heaven. We must also recognize that we are sinners in need of a Savior and embrace Him as that Savior. This teaching could certainly be brought out when discussing the story with a child, but it is not intrinsic to the story and the parent would have to draw the conclusion for the child. However, for my child, who is not yet ready to make that decision, the level of doctrine and the parallel story is appropriate.
That said, this was a refreshing read when compared to the vast library of “Christian” children’s books that focus little on Christ and strongly on character traits. All in all this would be a welcome addition to our bookshelf. I would read it with the understanding that it does not directly point a child toward salvation, but does outline God’s plan for providing that salvation through His son. It would be a good conversation starter.
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write the review of this book, and it is an honest review of my opinions. However, in return for the review, I may be offered a free copy of the book for our family’s bookshelf.
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