Author: Sister Maria Grace Dateno
Illustrator: Paul Cunningham
Publisher: Pauline Press
Age Range: 6 – 10
This is the second book in the Gospel Time Trekkers series, written by Sister Maria Grace Dateno. Once again, we travel back in time with siblings Hannah, Caleb and Noah to learn about some of the significant events in the Gospels. As in the first book, young readers will appreciate that we are plunged back in time within the first chapter of the book, and no time is wasted for the children to commence their adventure.
I’m amazed that so much can be packed into such a relatively short book. Sister Maria Grace is expert at making a lot happen in just a few words. In this story, the children learn about the miracle of the loaves and fish, and the miracle of the wedding at Cana. I was also impressed with how authentically the time, place and characters are brought to life. Details such as what characters are wearing, what they eat, the tools they use, how they prepare food and much more are all weaved into the story. Children will also be fascinated to consider what communication must have been like before mobile phones, emails or instant messaging, and how hard it was to find someone when you had lost them.
In this story, the children befriend young Levi who is about to embark on an overnight journey to see Jesus. Things don’t go to plan and the children are put off course by a storm. Happily, they find a friendly couple who let them stay and help them out. Eventually, with the help of a few other people in town, Levi is reunited with his father, and all is well.
The final chapter sees the children return back to modern times. They attend Mass together and Father Joe gives a homily about the significance of the Eucharist. Hannah, Caleb and Noah are inspired by Father’s reference to the consecration of the bread and wine as a miracle. Caleb even makes an effort to reconcile with his dad around learning some basic woodwork. All in all, a satisfying ending to a cleverly assembled story.
There is an additional chapter that retells the Gospel stories of the miracle of the loaves and fish, and the miracle at the wedding at Cana. A very handy addition that homeschoolers, religious education and classroom teachers will appreciate.
I highly recommend this series of books. They are Catholic in orientation and highly educational without being boring. Because they are so short, they would be suitable as read alouds for a whole class. Chapters are short and easily manageable by readers who might be struggling. Braving the Storm continues on from the first book of the series, Shepherds to the Rescue.
You can read my review of Shepherds to the Rescue HERE.
Australians and people of the South Pacific can purchase Braving the Storm from Veritatis Publishing HERE.
Others can purchase form Amazon HERE.