Elizabeth Hankins' Review of Sammy and His Shepherd by Susan Hunt:
Susan Hunt is a gifted writer. I've read several of her books and, like the others, Sammy and His Shepherd did not disappoint. In this book, she seeks to help her readers understand Psalm 23 through Sammy, a compassionate, young sheep and his nameless friend outside of the sheepfold. Sammy tells his friend of all that his Shepherd does for him, and his friend finds herself longing to be cared for in much the same way.
Susan had wonderful insights into the caring of sheep reminiscent of Phillip Keller's book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (though, truth be told, I have not read Keller's book in its entirety). As an adult, I find Hunt's book to be particularly refreshing. It is filled with Biblical truth and told in an engaging manner. Sammy and His Shepherd is unique in that it makes Psalm 23 understandable to children. I don't know of any book quite like it for this age group.
When we got to the end of the book, my daughter exclaimed, "That's the end!" She then proceeded to ask if there were other books in the series and was quite sad to realize that there are no others continuing the story of Sammy, his friend, and the Shepherd. However, she excitedly pronounced that she would write her own story to continue where this one left off.
The one concern that I have about this book is that Ms. Hunt seems to expect that the children to whom she is writing are converted. This is evident in a "Talk About It" section filled with discussion questions and prayer suggestions. I say this is a concern because we do not want children (especially those growing up in the church) to assume that they are saved when they have not personalized their parents' faith; we don't want to give them false assurance.
There was also one point in the story that I think might be misleading doctrinally. It has to do with who initiates salvation. However, I won't expound upon that for fear of spoiling the plot. ;)
All in all, the story was well done. I believe Ms. Hunt was successful in what she set out to accomplish: making Psalm 23 more clear to all ages. There is a level of depth in this Psalm that I have missed all these years. This is a book that I will read again and again to my children without getting bored! Highly recommended!
(Many thanks to Reformation Trust Publishing for granting me a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion!)
For more information on this book, check out Challies interview with the author.