First, a bit about Lamplighter Publishing. This wonderful company strives to re-print and edit high quality literature. Their aim is to "develop Christ-like character one story at a time". Through their many many books they want to encourage children to pursue good character qualities and traits. Children are easily influenced and reading stories that promote good morale and integrity is a wonderful way to guide them down this path.
For this review I received the book Helen's Temper and its Consequences. The hardback book itself is of very high quality and is 123 pages long. This book was written in 1872 by Mrs. George Gladstone and is perfect for ages 6 and older.
The story begins with two sisters. The older one Helen is intelligent and studious, while the younger one Betty is not as smart and is quick to speak. Both girls hear the story of The Good Samaritan in their Sunday School class and then providentially, they meet a poor, crippled girl. Their reactions are very different: Betty is kind to the young girl and befriends her and her family, while Helen, who is selfish and conceited, wants nothing to do with the poor girl.
As the story moves on and Betty continues to encourage the girl, Helen becomes more and more hateful of her, and eventually does something very terrible. Through her grandfather, she realizes the evil in her heart and repents of her sin. And then unexpectedly, she is the recipient of love and mercy from the very one she tormented.
Throughout the book there is an emphasis on good character and helping those in need around us. There are also scripture references periodically quoted throughout. There does seem to be lots of emphasis on good works and being able to choose to do right, and so as we read this I did stop to talk about how it is Christ that changes us, not ourselves.
I really liked reading this book aloud to my two younger girls. We would stop often and talk about the story. In the story line some of the dialogue is of Helen, talking to herself. She cares too much about what others think of her, how her friends might think of her if she was seen talking to a beggar, and is very concerned with her outward appearance to others. We were able to talk about how, deep down inside us, we each struggle with things like this. We all have sinful natures, and without God working through our parents, grandparents (in the case of Helen), and scripture, we would still be dead in our sins.
I loved the ending of the story. Beware, it is a tear jerker. (As many Lamplighter books are!) I loved the mercy and grace shown, and the gentle reprimanding from the grandfather. I do wish that there was more of an emphasis on salvation by Christ alone - this is a very important part of my faith, and I felt the book focused more on good works and living a good Christian life.
But the story was a very good one, and one that I would recommend as a great read aloud. There were many opportunities for discussion as we read, and I cherished those talks with my girls. Any literature that encourages good character and brings about great conversations is a winner, and I was very happy with this book.
Other members of The Crew reviewed a book from Lamplighter Publishers, click below to see what they thought.