Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review: Rain Forest Adventures

Rain Forest AdventuresRain Forest Adventures is comprised of short, two to three page stories that are interesting and informative, depicting the habitat and behaviors of many rain forest creatures. These stories can be read in approximately five to ten minutes or less, and, like other books in this series, each chapter concludes with a short spiritual lesson. Children will likely benefit from further discussion following these lessons as it is somewhat difficult to convey the context and meaning of a Scripture in a few, short sentences.

There were a number of times when Banner's theology seemed ambiguous. For example, he wrote:

"There is nothing at all a caterpillar can do about its future state. It either becomes a butterfly or a moth, according to its kind. It cannot choose between light and darkness. We can. We can be good or bad. We can obey God or disobey Him. We can be saved or lost. And it is for us to choose...Deuteronomy 30:19, 20" (pg 51).

Later, we read:

"It is clear to me that there are two natures common to all men. If we are honest with ourselves we can recognize their presence in our own hearts. We can see them at work in our children. In young and old alike is the conflict between good and bad. Few will dare say that they are all good, yet none will denounce themselves as wholly bad...There is a way, not only to get away from sin but also to keep away. Paul gives us the answer: 'I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' " at which point Banner quotes James 4:7, 8 (pg. 54).

There were also unclear statements such as "nature" provided emus with long necks (pg. 8) and "As they [termites] contact Mother Earth, they shed their flimsy wings…" (pg. 89).

Ultimately, Banner writes to encourage children to lay up treasures in heaven, to follow Christ who is "the Way", and to fight the good fight of faith. Readers will find themselves challenged to count the cost of following Christ and to persevere during hardship. Along the way, children will also learn many surprising facts about rain forest life. With detailed descriptions of hunting expeditions and forest dangers, Rain Forest Adventures will likely capture the attention of many children (around ages 7-12), especially those particularly interested in wildlife, hunting, and/or the rain forest habitat.

(Note: Several stories are probably not best suited for the sensitive at heart. There is a description of an anaconda attacking a disobedient boy in the river (complete with sketch), as well as, numerous references to killer piranha fish  that only attack where there is bleeding, not to mention wild boars and boa constrictors.)

*My sincere thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and Christian Focus Publications for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

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