Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Way Home: A Princess Story

Another offering from Max Lucado, The Way Home: A Princess Story is an allegorical fairy tale specifically geared toward girls. It takes place long, long ago in a majestic kingdom. There we meet Princess Anna. She was not born to the King, but rather was adopted. He found her in the woods and made her his own. Now she is grown and staring out her window wondering what life is like beyond the castle walls. She knows her father loves her very much and he wants what is best for her. He has told her the outside, where the Lowlanders live, is a horrible place ruled by the evil Olbaid. But Anna has heard rumors that all they do is play and have fun! In spite of her father's warnings, she still wants to explore the outside. In the meantime, three servants of Olbaid named Ima, Gunnah and Getcha hatch a plan to trap Princess Anna. Their master, Olbaid, has given them only one chance to capture her. The next day while the princess is wading in the creek, Ima, Gunnah and Getcha succeed. Dressed as harmless old people they tickle Anna's curiosity and draw her deep into the woods. Once inside the dark forest they run faster and faster. Anna is frightened and turns to go home but the path is gone. She's lost. Her dress is torn; her hair matted. The princess is alone and shamed by her choice to disobey the King.

When the King hears of Anna’s disappearance, he decides to leave his kingdom to find her. A battle is waged in which the King alone fights all the servants of Olbaid. He is killed, but does not die (if that makes sense). As he jumps to his feet he proclaims: “You have no power over me or mine.” The King then takes Anna by the hand and shows her the way home.

What I Like: My daughter is really into princesses! I like having a Christian alternative to the many Disney princess stories. The author does a wonderful job showing the love and concern the King has for his children. It is sometimes difficult for children (and adults) to understand how much God wants what is best for us. This book illustrates it very well. Speaking of illustrations, Tristen Elwell does a fantastic job with this picture book. His paintings are perfect for this enchanting fairy tale.

What I Dislike: The book crams too much into a children’s story. It is long – way too long for preschoolers. I feel the story would be more effective if the author had focused on one aspect of salvation, perhaps creating a series, instead of putting everything in one book. The content is too heavy for a book this size; definitely too heavy for the age group the publisher recommends. Furthermore, the main character is boring and kind of whiney; certainly not a character I would want my children to admire. Finally, and this is minor, the illustrations of the Lowlanders were better than those of the “majestic kingdom”. Personally, I was more drawn to them than I was to the servants of the King. It should have been the other way around.

Overall Rating: Good

Age Appeal: 4-8 (according to the publisher) ... I would recommend 6 and above. Preschoolers are really too young to sit this long, much less understand the story.

Publisher Info: Tommy Nelson, 2005; ISBN: 1400305543; Hardback; $16.99

Buy it Now on Amazon for $13.25

No comments: