Monday, June 14, 2010

Rainbow Garden

Rainbow Garden , by Patricia St. John, introduces Elaine, an only child. Elaine's father died and her mother's work, which involves extensive traveling and lavish parties, leaves Mother with little time to spend with Elaine. Then, when Mother's job send her out of London and into France, lonely and selfish Elaine is sent to live with a family in Wales. Now Elaine not only has six other children to contend with, she must also leave the only home she knows.

At first, Elaine hates her host family and living without her city comforts. But little by little, the kindness and camaraderie of the family unit draws her out of her ego-centric world. Plus the beauty of the countryside--in particular, a garden of flowers that Elaine secretly tends--wins her over. The best part of Elaine's whole experience with when she learns about faith in Jesus...and then reaches out to help a crippled child find peace. In so doing, this slow-moving but delightfully charming tale explores the change that comes over a once hardened heart when it experiences the fullness of joy in Christ.

A relatively small subplot which adds some suspense to the story involves a robbery at Elaine's garden house and a drunken man.

What I Like: The story is old-fashioned but quaint, beautifully written, and winsome. I loved the gentle wisdom shared by the parents. Instead of telling Elaine what to think, they told her stories and let her (and therefore the reader) draw her own conclusions. I especially appreciated how the author walked Elaine through confessing her sins and asking Jesus into her heart and then, rather than leaving Elaine in the very baby stages of faith, showed her grow and mature. Because of the simple and understandable explanation, I think this book would be an excellent tool to share with a child interested in knowing how to become a Christian.

What I Dislike: Nothing, really. I suspect the story will appeal more to girls than boys. In addition, this story may hold less appeal for those who enjoy mysteries, thrillers, or adventures. However, it is well worth reading. It's not surprising this story is considered a classic.

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: Ages 9-12, although I feel it would be an appropriate read aloud for kids ages 6-8.

Publisher Info: Moody Publishers, 2002, ISBN: 978-0-8024-6578-8; Paperback $6.99.

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Susanne said...

This is one of my favorite books and lessons I learned from this book I still carry into my adult life. I still think about how Elaine gave up "her" time to go visit the invalid Phillipa and I always think about how that relates to my life, and giving up my time. I also love the wonderful portrayal of the human, but wonderfully supportive Welsh Christian family. I adore this book!!!!!

Loretta said...

This sounds similar to The Secret Garden. My daughter will love it!