This story begins with a little girl who is sick and must take some medicine. This causes her to wonder why something that is supposed to make you better tastes awful. Her grandfather answers her question by telling her a story about a prince who had to drink a terrible poison. As the story unfolds children can see that like Jesus this prince is obedient to his father even to death and they can see the wonderful gift of salvation that is offered.
I would highly recommend this book. It is very difficult to find children's books like this one that accurately portray the truths of Scripture. The story is interesting and the illustrations which are by Justin Gerard are captivating. In addition, at the end of the book are great questions with Bible verses that will help parents teach their children the Scriptural truths that are presented in this story.
(Reformation Trust Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a fair critique.)
The Prince's Poison Cup is an allegorical retelling of the Gospel in a non-threatening and child-friendly way. The illustrations are plentiful and beautiful. (I especially like how the book is tan colored, so when the King of Life is drawn he is brilliantly bright.) There are enough Biblical concepts and truth in this seemingly simple tale to keep a parent busy for many readings. I think that is the true brilliance of Dr. Sproul and this book! He is able to take a very complicated story and retell it in a way a child can understand without sacrificing truth.
The King of Life creates a park for his people to enjoy and gives them freedom to drink from the streams but not the fountain, as the fountain would harm them. The people drink and as a result their hearts turn to stone. The King asks his son the prince to take his golden cup and drink murky poison to heal the hearts of his people.
There are some especially deep, yet simple, concepts in the book that I really liked, like explaining the consequences of sin. "But a terrible thing happened when the people drank the waterâ€”[of which they were forbidden to drink] their hearts turned to stone. After that, they no longer felt any love for their King. They didn't even want to be with Him anymore. (p. 14) Dr. Sproul doesn't go into the Holiness of the king requiring punishment for sin, but he does cover depravity with the idea that the people's hearts were turned into stone.
Another deep concept is the foreknowledge of God that people would sin: "The King was very wise and had known that the people would drink from the fountain, and He already had a plan to help them. (p. 16)" The book even helps to explain the righteousness of God by saying that "The poison was made up of the King's anger over the people's disobedience. (p. 16)" The Prince (or Jesus) has to drink the poison for us in order to heal our stony hearts.
The end of the book also has ideas and Bible verses to help answer questions that will come up. For example, in answering what happens after you trust in Jesus? The book gives you Ezekiel 36:26: "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." (Referenced on p. 40)
This book is a wonderful addition to any collection and is far from a fluffy children's Bible story. I certainly recommend it to anyone with children.
(I received this book for free from Reformation Trust Publishing in exchange for my honest review)
Recently, I stumbled upon another children's book written by Dr. R.C. Sproul. I enjoyed reading his kid's book: The Priest with Dirty Clothes earlier in April 2011. After finishing that book, a friend told me about another kid's book Dr. Sproul wrote called The Prince's Poison Cup. Not exactly the most positive sounding of book titles I'll admit, but I wanted to see if this would be something both educational and exciting for my future kids. I'm actually glad I read this children's book second, because it compliments The Priest with Dirty Clothes.
The Prince's Poison Cup very simply put, is an allegorical tale. This story begins with a great and powerful King nicknamed 'the King of Life' who creates an entire city and its people. The city was beautiful and everyone within the city was happy until an evil enemy deceives the cityfolk. This shadowy foe persuades them to turn against the King, abandon the city, and live in their own settlement within the harsh desert where life is rough. The King desires to save his people from this evildoer, by sending his son the Prince to deliver them. As I read The Prince's Poison Cup, I realized each of its events were allegorical for the overall gospel message presented throughout the Bible. I enjoyed reading this and I found nothing dull about the story. The artwork was beautiful and well detailed, although some pictures ought to have been on the same page as the story text for the sake of imagination. This was theologically accurate too. Like The Priest with Dirty Clothes, I reccommend this book for any Christian parent who desires to teach their children more about God, Jesus, and the Bible itself.
Disclaimer: Ben Umnus was given a free copy of this book by Reformation Trust Publishing, but he was neither paid for his review nor was he commanded by Reformation Trust Publishing to write a positive review. This review is the personal, written opinion of Ben Umnus. This disclaimer is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
The Prince's Poison Cup is a beautiful rendition of the reason mankind needs a savior and the ultimate sacrifice that was made. The story starts with a beautiful town that the King of Light has created. The people in the town are happy in their daily fellowship with their ruler, until they disobey his orders and drink from the forbidden well. The rest of the story follows the Prince's journey as he must muster his courage and try to rescue the town's people from their own mistake of drinking from the well.
This was a delightful and charming book! The pictures were intriguing, captivating and just overall beautifully done. The age range of this book is definitely early elementary school, but even I as an adult reader thoroughly enjoyed it. This book would make a nice edition to any children's pastor, teacher, or family's library. The story is succinct and nicely paced. The vocabulary is nice too. Overall I give this book 10/10 stars on my rating scale. This is definitely a must if you have any elementary age children living in your home or if you have anyone that you want to explain the Gospel to!
Disclaimer: For reviewing this book, I will be receiving a copy of it for my library from Ligonier Books.
I would have loved "The Prince's Poison Cup" as a child. It is a powerful portrayal of mankind's fall and redemption that is told in a way that little ones can understand. The illustrations are beautiful. The writing is well done.
In the beginning of the story, we meet a little girl named Ella who is ill and must take some yucky medicine in order to get well. She bravely takes it but then asks her dad, "Daddy, why does medicine taste so bad if it's going to make us well?" Her father tells that her grandpa will be visiting that day and that she should ask him because "He always can answer your hard questions." Later Grandpa arrives and Ella asks him her question. What follows is an allegorical retelling of the Gospel done in a way that children can comprehend it.
Grandpa's story is about the King of Life, His Son The Prince and His archenemy. The King of Life made a beautiful park for His people and He would come there to visit them. In it was a fountain filled with water that the King's people were forbidden to drink of. The people loved their King and willingly obeyed Him. Then one day the King's archenemy appeared. He told the people that the water from the fountain was actually good and if they would drink of it they would become great like their King. He then filled a cup with the fountain's water and the people partook of it. Immediately their hearts became stone and they were filled with hated towards their King. They moved away from the park to the desert and built a city which they called "The City Of Man".
What the King does next mirrors the plan of salvation. Giving His Son a golden cup, the King tells His Son to go to the City of Man and search for another fountain, one filled with the King's wrath, fill His cup and drink the poison contained therein so that the people might be saved. The Son does just that and dies for His people. The King appears and brings His Son back to life and thus the archenemy is defeated. Grandpa then explains to his granddaughter that people become ill because of sin and tells her to remember the story of the Prince when she has to take bad-tasting medicine. Ella tells Grandpa "I know another Prince Who died for His people."
There are discussion questions at the end of the book that parents can use to make sure that children grasp the real meaning of the story.
This is an excellent book that simply and succinctly explains the Gospel story. I cannot wait to share it with my children.
My overall rating: Excellent.
(I received via e-mail a PDF version of this Reformation Trust Publishing title. I was not asked by Reformation Trust that my review of this book be positive, only that it be serious, substantive and fair. Once my review is received, I will receive a free copy of the book.)