Sunday, December 4, 2016

Book Review: Adam Raccoon and the Circus Master by Glen Keane

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great story and artwork
Cons: All cons ran away with the circus
The Bottom Line:
Adam leaves his king
Is the circus life worth it?
Retells parable

Parable of a Parable

When you are creating a world of parables, the parables of Jesus are an obvious source material.  That’s what Glen Keane did with Adam Raccoon and the Circus Master.  However, by changing the details, he made it his own and extremely entertaining.

Adam Raccoon works with King Aren in the forest where they live.  The king pays Adam, but Adam has everything he needs provided, so he can just save his money.

One day, the circus comes to town, and Adam can’t wait to go.  He is so enchanted by what he sees that he decides to run away and join the circus.  Will that turn out to be a good idea?

When you are reading the book, it quickly becomes obvious that this book is a retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son.  Glen has changed a few details, most notably leaving out the older brother, but the heart of the story is still there.

And here’s the thing, even though the adults reading this picture book would know where the story is going and the source material behind it, it is still a great story.  In fact, by expanding it slightly (this is a picture book) and showing what Adam faces in a different context, it brings home Jesus’s point of our sin and God’s willingness to forgive in a new way.  It doesn’t take a look at the point Jesus was making about us judging those who repent, but by focusing on one thing, it makes it more accessible to the young target audience.

Glen Keane’s background in cartooning and animation come through in the pictures.  They are all vibrant and fun and help tell the story.  There isn’t an excess of words on the page, so kid’s attention won’t wander before it is time to turn the page.

My niece and nephew have both really enjoyed this book.  In fact, we reread it on a recent trip home for Thanksgiving, and they were entertained by it yet again.

It’s nice that these books are back in print so a whole new generation of kids can find the fun and lessons of Adam Raccoon.  If your kids are the right age, be sure to check out Adam Raccoon and the Circus Master.

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