Monday, September 24, 2012

A Cry From Egypt

 If you're like me, you may not have heard of Great Waters Press. However, you may have heard of their chief publishers, Hal and Melanie Young, authors of Raising Real Men. The TOS Crew were given the opportunity to review one advance reader copy of 2 soon-to-be-published books: A Cry From Egypt and Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship. Since I only have one young child in church(Almost past that stage...bittersweet), and because my eldest is a bibliophile, and always on the lookout for good Christian literature, I was pleased to review A Cry From Egypt

A Cry From Egypt is the first in a series entitled "The Promised Land," by Hope Auer. Hope is a homeschool graduate who began writing at age 13 when her family was studying Ancient Egypt. The illustrator, Mike Slaton, is also a homeschool graduate. The simple fact that the author/illustrator were contemporaries (Homeschool kids) was enough to provoke my daughter's interest in this book (as well as my own). While Ancient Egypt has never been her favorite topic on its own, my Eldest was looking forward to this glimpse into another time period.
Almost as soon as the package arrived my daughter absconded with the book, to immediately devour it, and emerge some time later exclaiming over how good it was. She is a fan of historical fiction (Among other genres) and was fascinated with this look at the time period of the plagues in Egypt from a young Israelite slave's perspective. In her words "You feel like you are there... you ARE one of the Israelites."  Eldest felt it was interesting to read this well known story through the eyes of one who might have lived it, not just recounted it as history. Hope painted a fantastic word picture of the land of Goshen and its inhabitants in relation to the rest of Egypt during the plagues.
The story follows a Hebrew girl, Jarah, and her family and friends (as well as some of the more prominent historical figures) during the time of the plagues. There is an interesting circumstance in that her father is a practicing Jew, but her mother has turned to the gods of the Egyptians. This rings as a true possibility as Hope points out in notes at the end of the book~ as the Children of Israel so readily fell into worshiping the golden calf in the wilderness. Some of them must have been very familiar with the Egyptian customs and gods. 

The attitudes of the characters presented opportunities to have discussions about our attitudes towards one another. The concept that when a family member (or even a perceived enemy) is being difficult, it is a good idea to ask God's help to respond in a loving, gracious and Christ-like manner, rather than responding in like manner (snippy, irritated tone of voice, or even violence). Heaven knows we can't do it very well on our own, and I appreciated seeing this portrayed so well throughout the story. Sometimes stories help to turn head-knowledge into heart-knowledge (one of the reasons that Jesus was so fond of telling his disciples parables....?? :D).

To Hope Auer, I'd like to say "mission accomplished!" You have written a book that draws the reader in and holds their attention captive. I appreciate the "Research Information" included at the end of the book, which not only details your research but opens up the resources for continuing research by your readers. Well done! We are anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series (Eldest is recommending this book to friends and adding our copy to her personal lending library)! :) 

My only word of caution~ the publishers rate this as intended for readers 8 years old and up. Because of some of the descriptions of the treatment of the slaves, I know that it would have been too much for my children to handle when they were 8. I would suggest 10-12 for a lower age limit if you have sensitive children.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Review Crew and see what others had to say about A Cry From Egypt as well reviews for Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.
Disclaimer: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Review Crew Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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