Young Reader’s Christian Library
Before moving overseas, I attempted to collect as many of these mini-classic books as possible from from thrift stores and garage sales. I ended up with over 60 and have been biding my time, just waiting for the chance to entertain my children with these ten-chapter, 100-page, 100-illustrations books. When my four-year-old daughter (and her six-year-old brother) fell in love with Disney’s Pocahontas, I saw my opening. I showed them the book with its black-and-white drawings and read to them a few paragraphs about Pocahontas and her father, Chief Powhatan, and they were immediately hooked.
I can’t say that “hooked” means that they paid attention to every detail, of course. The writing-level is certainly fit for children, but probably more so children who are 6 or 7 or even older. Many scenes went right over my own kids’ young heads, but anytime I dropped a key word like “Pocahontas”, “princess”, or “John Smith”, they both listened with rapt attention. These 200 pages took us over three weeks to finish, five pages here, ten there, a few nights off, etc. But finish it we did!
After our story time and during our prayer time, I would ask the kids what they would like to thank God for today. Without fail on the nights when we read this book, my daughter would respond, “Potatontis” (she’s still trying to perfect her “k” sound). This would give me a great opportunity to thank God for Pocahontas’ bravery (which we can learn from) or her desire to know more about the foreigners’ God, or her craving to learn how to read or understand the Bible. This little book offers many corners of Pocahontas’ life that were obviously ignored by the two Disney movies, and it’s a great way to add the Christian perspective to her tale.
One thing that shocked me—something I may have learned long ago in grade school but had just as long ago forgotten—is that Pocahontas died at the extremely young age of 21! The Disney movie might have implied her age in their drawings, but the illustrations in this book certainly don’t. Oftentimes the young princess looks like she’s in her forties, instead of being a mere seventeen. All-in-all, though, my kids greatly enjoyed this book. Next we’re turning to The Swiss Family Robinson, and are hoping that the book treats animals a bit more kindly than did the 1960 Disney film.