What you must understand from the first: this book is an allegory and was written for very young children to introduce them to the story of the Gospel: we sinned, God sent a Savior. To this end, the story succeeds and is a worthwhile read.
In the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Charlie, his mother and Grandpa. Charlie asks his Mom, “Mommy? Why am I afraid of the dark?”. His Mother tells him to wait until the next night when Grandpa will be visiting them and ask him. Grandpa comes and, in answer to Charlie’s question, tells him the story of The Lightlings.
The Lightlings are fairy-like creatures who have sinned against their Creator and King. Because He loves them the King sends a Baby, His Son, to live among them and save them from the darkness that has descended upon them because they “decided to do what they wanted to do instead of what their King commanded them to do.”
Grandpa explains to Charlie that people are afraid of the dark because they are made to live in the light. Further, he says that, whenever Charlie sees a light of any kind (the sun, a candle, etc.), he should remember the story of the Child the King of Light sent into the world and then he would never need be afraid of darkness again.
What I loved about this book:
It has absolutely gorgeous illustrations that invite the reader to become engaged in the story.
It tackles the issue of our sin against our holy God at a level that my five-year old son can understand.
At the end of the book, there is a Parent’s Guide with 13 questions (Who is the real King of Light?, Who are the real Lightlings?), along with Scriptures to help Mom and Dad discuss and fill-in the story (which opens up the story somewhat to older children).
What I didn’t like:
Too much of the story rests upon the illustrations.
The story is somewhat abrupt; because of this important concepts are left out (there is no foretelling of the coming of the Baby, no explanation of the need for substitutionary death, etc.); some of this is understandable considering it is a story written for such young children (still I can’t escape the belief that something more, somewhere, was needed).
The end isn’t wrapped up as well as it could have been.
My take on it:
This is a good book that, with a bit more attention to detail, a little bit more time spent fleshing out the story (the Baby’s appearance, what is sin) could have been great. Still, I liked the book over-all and believe it to be worthy of a permanent space on our bookshelves.
I received a pdf copy of this book from Reformation Trust for purposes of review. I was not required to give a positive review, only one that is “serious, substantive, and fair.” I will be receiving a copy of the book itself once my review is posted.