As a blogger for Ligonier Ministries, I had the opportunity to read the children's book, The Lightlings by R.C. Sproul, illustrated by Justin Gerard. Upon first glimpse of the book, the vivid, full color illustrations were very impressive and rich in detail. The theme opens with a verse from the new testament gospel of John1:5. The book begins with a young boy, who has a common child-hood fear of darkness as he gets ready for bedtime. Many children can relate to a fear of darkness. This universal childhood fear of the dark is turned into an analogy, which is used as a springboard to introduce the reader to the story of the light of God. In contrast to the fear that many children have of the dark, there are suprisingly, many more who fear the light- which in actuality, refers to the message of God. On the surface, the story may appear to be about fairies in a fantasy wold, or about overcoming fears, but it is much more than that, as the reader will soon learn.
The symbolism of the characters and events in the world of fantasy and fairies, is brought to life in Sproul's story as they parallel the characters and events of the bible: God, the story of creation as well as the birth of Jesus. The King represents God, and the Lightlings depicted as brighly glowing fairies, represent mankind. The illustrations commpliment the story line perfectly. The contrast of the world of the lightlings - the light of their world when it was first created, and the shadowy darkness which dims their world as a result of disobeying the king, is made clear through the richly detailed art of Justin Gerard.
Just as Jesus proclaimed in the bible that we must be like children and in openess recieve his message, the children in the story are the first to respond without fear and with great boldness. The important role of children in the story is sure to draw in the interest of any child. The moral of the story is one that can be understood and especially appreciated as well. This book is an effective way to introduce a child to God's message as told through the bible. In the end of the book, there are supplemental pages for the parent which explain all the characters and the symbolism of the story through biblical verses. Not only is this a very good story on its own merits, this book is a great outreach method for secular as well as Christian families in learning about the message of the Good News of God's light for the world. As compensation for my review I will recieve a free copy of the book from the publisher.