Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Wisdom of Solomon

The Wisdom of Solomon: A Solomon Lapp and Friends Amish Storybook was written by Wanda E. Brunstetter, a bestselling author of Amish fiction and nonfiction. The book follows Solomon and his sister Sara as they explore life in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Along the way, these Amish children and their friends learn about God, prayer, kindness and other lessons from the book of Proverbs.

Each of the twelve chapters begins by quoting a key verse. A story follows to illustrate that point, sometimes with a lesson and sometimes with humor. Typically the characters do the wrong thing first, then learn the importance of the verse by the end of the chapter.

For example, in the chapter on wisdom, the verse is Proverbs 2:6 -- "For the Lord gives wisdom ..." In the story several of Solomon's friends and cousins ask him for advice. He forgets to ask God for wisdom and in turn gives poor (even silly) advice to everyone. When he sees the consequences of his hasty words, he remembers to seek God before giving advice.

The author sprinkles Amish words and phrases throughout the text. A glossary of these terms is provided in the back of the book.

The illustrations by Phil A. Smouse are done in a cartoon-like style. They boast lots of color and friendly characters with sweet expressions.

What I Like: I like that each chapter starts with a verse from Proverbs. The illustrations are really cute. I like the chapter length. They average twenty pages; illustrations fill at least half of every page. The combination of chapter length and illustration frequency makes this a good transitional book for kids between picture books and chapter books.

What I Dislike: The stories are often redundant and followed by a weak lesson or correction. For example, in one chapter, the protagonist, Sara, refuses to share eight times. Each time she's confronted with the same answer. Eventually she learns that sharing is good, but not because it's kind or because it makes playtime more fun. Instead she learns that sharing is important because bad things happen if you don't share. Several of the chapters offered similar conclusions that, to me, seemed incomplete.

Also, there is little to no explanation of who the Amish are or why they live differently than we do. If you're familiar with the Amish, this isn't a problem. Because this book is the first introduction my children have had to the Amish, I spent more time trying to answer questions about Solomon's culture than talking about the lessons he learns.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: 4-8

Publisher Info: Barbour Books, 2009; ISBN: 1602602832; Hardback; $16.95

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $11.99!

OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $10.18.

Special Info: Visit Christianbook.com to listen to an interview with the author about this book.

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