Friday, December 11, 2009

Journey to the Ice

Journey to the Ice was a fitting book to read while cozy on my couch in the snowy Midwest! Jennifer Slattery tells the story of Makir, an eight-year-old boy living at the time the tower of Babylon was built. Although the rest of the townspeople are excited when Nimrod announces he plans to build a giant tower reaching towards the gods, Makir is uneasy. He senses there is something evil about Nimrod and his plans to build the tower, but can't put his finger on what. As work on the temple progresses, Makir overhears Nimrod gloating about the way the people are beginning to worship him.

Makir wants to help his father and older brothers, but he is strangely drawn to crazy old Shem, who tells stories of a flood covering the earth. Makir is also confused, but comforted, by a still, small voice which seems to answer his questions about Shem's God, Yahweh. Suddenly, one day, the men working on the tower can only hear gibberish. No one can communicate with anyone who is not in their family and work on the temple grinds to a halt. Makir recognizes this event as the hand of God, and wishes his own family would turn to Yahweh. When he tries to tell his family about Yahweh, his mother is furious and refuses to speak to him.

As resources become more and more scarce, Makir's father decides they must move. Their journey leads them to colder and colder regions, and they finally are forced to take shelter in caves and hunt woolly mammoths for food and skins. Makir and his brothers spend the long winter painting pictures on the wall of the cave, and staying away from the huge walls of ice.

Makir learns to trust in God and recognize his voice, and he tells his younger cousins about God as well. He teaches them the stories he learned from Shem, and he tells them about God's answers to his prayers. As the book ends, Makir prays for his mother to love him again, and his heart is overjoyed when she reaches down and hugs him.

What I Like: Slattery writes a compelling novel chronicling one boy's journey of faith, but she also attempts to answer many questions about the ice age, dinosaurs, cave men and the flood. Regardless of your opinions about evolution, creation, young earth theory or intelligent design, this novel provides lots of food for thought and discussion. Slattery explains, at the end of the book, 500 flood stories exist in various cultures around the world. She includes several examples for our consideration. She also proposes perhaps early man walked hunched over as a result of a vitamin deficiency, rather than evolutionary process. Dinosaurs are known as "great lizards" and Makir's people are careful to avoid their territories.

Slattery also provides a simple, biblically accurate salvation message, with Scripture references, at the end of the last chapter.

What I Dislike: Sometimes it is hard to write authentic dialogue when the setting is so far removed from modern-day life. At one point, Makir says he feels like he may "puke," which sounds forced.

Also, when Makir hears God's voice, it is comforting and biblically accurate, but it may be frustrating for readers who wish God would speak to them as clearly. If your reader doesn't feel God speaks to them in the same way, you may want to remind them of the importance of reading the Bible and and the counsel of other believers as well.

Overall Rating: Good/very good depending on your views of creation, evolution, young earth theory, etc. . .

Age Appeal: 8-12

Publisher Info: Myth Slayers Ministries, 2008; ISBN: 978-0578004600; Paperback, $8.95

Buy it at for $8.95.

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