Sunday, August 1, 2010

Caleb, Son of None

If you enjoy well-crafted, compelling fiction stories with solid take-away values, check out the Caleb Pascal and the Peculiar People series by Kersten Hamilton. Set in the late 1880s, the series features a likable cast of characters and dynamic plots. The first book in the series, Caleb, Son of None, introduces us to a young boy named Caleb, an orphan who was thrown into the trash as a baby. Caleb longs for a father, and thinks his wish comes true when he is adopted and apprenticed to Mr. Groeger, the local tanner. He soon learns that although Mr. Groeger appears to be an upright citizen, he is a callus, uncaring, and abusive man. Miserable and whip-scarred, Caleb fears he will never have a father who loves him

And then the circus comes to town. Through a series of misunderstandings, Caleb ends up at the big top with Mr. Groeger’s money in his pockets. When Mr. Groeger, who was attending the show, discovers Caleb and tries to strike him, an old circus clown named Guillaume intervenes, allowing Caleb to escape.

Guillaume later finds Caleb hiding on the grounds and enlists his help to care for the circus animals. While under the clown’s care, Caleb experience a true sense of love and belonging…especially when Guillaume not only tells Caleb about “the papa”—or God—but shows him the papa’s love. But Caleb’s small taste of safety and joy abruptly ends when Mr. Groeger tracks him down and reclaims him. Caleb once more faces a life of servitude until, in a great act of sacrifice, the clown gives all that he has to free him.

What I Like: How refreshing…a Christian-based children’s fiction book that was so engaging, I didn’t want to put it down! And then I couldn’t wait to read the next book. Hamilton created complex, believable, and moving characters that I think both kids and their parents will adore. The story is so well written and has so much emotional depth that, without being preachy, it seamlessly and powerfully weaves faith lessons right into the heart of the story. In addition, Hamilton anchors a verse of Scripture at the beginning of each chapter. I think this is a perfect book to help kids understand God as our heavenly father. I had a happy feeling in my heart when I finished the last chapter.

What I Dislike: Nothing. I loved the whole thing. However, be aware that the villains in this book might be a bit creepy or frightening for younger readers. Also, this is not a dislike, but a comment: There are four books in the series. Because of the way the stories unfold, it is best to read them IN ORDER. If you read them out of order, you’ll miss the full and dramatic impact.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: 9-12

Publisher Info: Standard Publishing, 2007; ISBN: 978-0784718599; Paperback $7.99

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Special info: Visit Kersten Hamilton's web site.
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Kersten Hamilton said...

Lori! Thank you so much for reviewing my book! I am thrilled that you liked it!

Lori Z. Scott said...

Kersten, I LOVED your books. I thought there were very well written.