The First Christians, The Acts of the Apostles

Book cover: 'The First Christians, The Acts of the Apostles'
Marigold Hunt
Ted Schluenderfritz
2 147 483 647
Sophia Institute Press
Number of pages: 
165 pages
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The sequel to A Life of Our Lord for Children, this title by Marigold Hunt tells the story of the infant Church. After a few introductory remarks, the story begins with the Pentecost (Acts 1) and ends with Paul's visit to the Jews of Rome (Acts 28). The beauty of this book is the wonderful storytelling style of Hunt. It is a great book to read aloud because then it really sounds as if she is speaking to us. One day I was reading out loud to my nine year-old and all the other children had gathered around. My eleven year-old said, "That's a cool author." I know he meant, "I love to hear the way that author tells a story."

At the beginning of each chapter Hunt lists the corresponding chapters from Acts of the Apostles. At various points in the text she recommends the reader go and read from the Bible. For example, when she describes the Pentecost, she suggests that the reader reads Peter's speech which is recorded in Acts 2. She calls it the "very first sermon of the very first pope." I have to admit that when I read her suggestions, I wanted to hop up and read the Bible version! Hunt selects particular tales from Acts, saying that she couldn't tell all that happened. However, she selects those that would be of most interest to young readers. For example, she chooses to include the story of Philip running next to the chariot of the Treasurer to tell him about the Faith, which is kind of a funny image. Hunt also does a good job explaining the problem that Christians Jews had with gentiles becoming Christian without keeping the "law of Moses," and how it was resolved. She makes it clear that Peter makes the final decision, and that when he does, everyone accepts it, clearly establishing him historically as the leader of the Church. With every story she explains things in ways a child would understand by comparing them to things in our own time.

As with A Life of Our Lord for Children, this edition, reissued in 2004, is illustrated by Ted Schluenderfritz (a homeschooling dad!). His drawings add greatly to the text. This is a book that will appeal to all children and is a joy to read aloud. It could be read independently by a 4th grader.

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