There are many pleasant surprises in Paul's Call by Kathleen Long Bostrom. For example, the author's clever text, more than a little reminiscent of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Here's a sample:
"Saul hated Christians! You could not appease him.
And if you ask why, I could guess at the reason.
It could be that Jesus was making the news.
It could be that Saul had a very short fuse.
Yet maybe the reason that has the best fit
Is that Saul simply didn't know Jesus one bit.
Whatever the reason,
The news or the fuse,
Saul stood for the godly, defending the Jews.
He knew that the Christians were spreading the Word,
And he had to stop them before they were heard."
Now you might guess at another of the nice surprises in this book: It takes what could seem a very dry story and makes it fun, entertaining, and important to young children.
The author continues Saul's tale, as he develops his plans to get rid of Christians, then is stopped powerfully by God. Soon Saul accepts Christ and becomes known as Paul. Then we get a glimpse of the changes in Paul as he preaches the Gospel. The book ends with Paul as a guest at a feast in Heaven, then reminds children that God wants them, too, to share the Good News.
The author also does a nice job of offering some ideas about what Christians should do: Spread the Word, pray, share...all things that drive Saul nuts.
What I Like: I think this is a terrific way to tell young children about a man who hated Christianity, but was transformed by God. The rhyming text is a lot of fun; many children will delight in the similarities to the famous Dr. Seuss story. And the bright illustrations by Dennis McKinsey are just right. They are comic-book like, showing lots of expression in each character.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 3 -6, but I think it will most appeal to preschoolers and gradeschoolers.
Publishing Info: Westminster, 2005; ISBN: 0664226361; hard back, $14.95.