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St. Paul, MN
5 Stars Out Of 5
Inspiring, delightful look at a Christian heroine
August 9, 2012
St. Paul, MN
I don't remember having heard the story of Lady Jane Grey, so when I picked up Simonetta Carr's most recent addition to the "Christian Biographies for Young Readers" series I was covering new territory. I was not disappointed. Jane Grey's life story is truly inspiring, even though her life was tragically cut short. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Since parents are the likely readers of my review, I'll risk some spoilers. Jane Grey was in England's royal family, during the time of Henry the VIII. When Henry's son Edward was dying, he named Jane Grey to be his heir Ã¢â¬â in hopes of spoiling his step-sister Mary's chances at the throne. But more than mere political intrigue was involved here. It was Grey's strong evangelical Christian testimony which moved Edward to select her. And Mary was destined to become known as "bloody Mary," in her zeal to purge England of Protestant opposition to Roman Catholicism. Lady Jane Grey, who never asked or wanted to become queeen, ruled for less than two weeks, and after a lengthy imprisonment, was eventually put to death as Mary moved to secure her rights to the throne.
Jane Grey and her Christian testimony, shine through in this bright and colorful book for kids. Like always, Simonetta Carr has done her homework and provides a factual account of Grey's life. She shares the touching last moments of Grey's life-her preparations for death, and the full text of a letter written to her sister, encouraging her in the faith, just hours before Jane was to become a martyr. Carr captures the uncertainty of the story and illumines it with historical detail that bring seventeenth Century England to life, for today's children.
Illustrator Matt Abraxas outdoes himself in providing rich and vivid drawings, detailed maps, portraits, pictures and other artwork which will make flipping through the pages of this book a joy for parent and child alike. Inquiring young minds will enjoy the timeline provided and an assortment of fascinating facts from her era. The rest of the story, when it comes to religious freedom in England, is also provided.
Once again, Carr has given us a masterpiece. This book will educate and delight young readers, and it will challenge and inspire both them and their parents to live for Christ. As a father of six children, I appreciate books like this that can inform and shape my children's impressionable minds. This book will find a special place in our home.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Reformation Heritage Books. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
Another excellent biography for children aged seven to ten! Although Mrs. Carr has written four other titles in the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series, this is the first book in the series that is about a female, Lady Jane Grey.
For those who are unfamiliar with Mrs. Carr's biographies, the Christian Biographies for Young Readers "...series introduces children to important people in the Christian tradition..." and goes "beyond the simple story of someone's life by teaching young readers the historical and theological relevance of each character." (From the series introduction)
Those who are familiar with these biographies will be delighted to know that Mrs. Carr's work continues to be characterized by a commitment to careful research. Lady Jane Grey features well-chosen, interesting photographs and artwork which aide in bringing history alive and "making it real" for the reader. Additionally, Mrs. Carr includes useful maps and a timeline to assist young people in putting details into their proper geographical and historical perspectives. Furthermore, she continues to write with a careful simplicity that enables young readers to understand what is occurring without "dumbing concepts down" unnecessarily. Most importantly, Mrs. Carr is committed to Biblical truth and communicating the Gospel to her readers.
Many significant lessons can be learned from the short life of Lady Jane Grey. Among these are:
* the importance of "counting the cost" of following Christ (Luke 14:25-33) - Reminiscent of the saints who "...were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life" (Hebrews 11:35 ESV), Lady Jane "...wrote to her sister that she rejoiced because she knew that she would soon 'lose a mortal life' to 'win an immortal life' (pg. 51);
* the importance of being like the noble Bereans who "...received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so"(Acts 17:11, ESV) rather than merely trusting the words of men - Lady Jane said, "I ground my faith on God's Word and not upon the church" (pg. 50);
* salvation in Christ alone - Upon her execution, Lady Jane said, "...I look to be saved by none other means but only by the mercy of God and the merits of the blood of His only Son Jesus Christ" (pg. 52).
Just as we see throughout Scripture and all of history in the lives of those believers who have gone before us, God's work in Lady Jane's life resulted in her faithfulness in the midst of challenging circumstances. May we be encouraged with the thought that "...the same God who preserved and strengthened Jane's faith until the end will do the same for all His children" (pg 54). Simonetta Carr's work is a helpful means to that end, and I highly commend it to you!
*Many thanks to Simonetta Carr and Reformation Heritage Books for providing me with a complimentary copy of Lady Jane Grey in exchange for my honest opinion!
Simonetta Carr's newest addition to her Christian Biographies for Young Readers, lives up to the high standard the author has set for herself in the previous books in this series. This biography covers the life of Lady Jane Grey. I was only vaguely familiar with her story prior to this and found this book educational and encouraging. Lady Jane Grey was known for her courage in defending the gospel. Though she lived 17 short years, her life has left a mark on the history of her country, England and more importantly on the church. Young women in particular should know her story and be encouraged by her faithfulness to the point of death.
Positives: I have always enjoyed the artwork in this series and Matt Abraxas does not disappoint! The beautiful illustrations enhance the storyline. The pictures help provide an accurate historical view as well. Simonetta has such a wonderful way of teaching as she writes. Your children will learn not only about Lady Jane, but also what it means to "count the cost" of the Christian faith. History and life lessons are wovenly together seamlessly and beautifully.
Talking Points: In Luke 14:25-33 Jesus tells us to carefully consider the cost of discipleship. Talk to your kids about what this means. Is becoming a Christian something we take lightly? Is it just repeating a prayer? Is it a decision we make in a moment? No, Christ calls us to consider what it means to be one of his followers. He tells us that it WILL be costly, and it may cost us our life. Yet if we are not called to be a martyr - are we still willing to pay the price of living everyday to the glory of God and not self. Are we willing to abandon self completely? Don't be afraid to share these difficult Scriptures, an understanding of truth makes a confession of faith that much sweeter! Even at a young age Lady Jane understood what was required of her as a Christian and our kids can too.