HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: With You All the Way
Author: Max Lucado
Illustrator: Chuck Gillies
Publisher: Crossway Books, 2000
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Lucado, Max. With You All the Way (published in 2000 by Crossway Books). To be honest, Max Lucado is not one of my favorite authors because I believe that he waters down the gospel message in many of his books to appeal to mass audiences. However, someone gave a copy of his Just In Case You Ever Wonder (1992) to our younger son Jeremy, and we liked it, so we checked a couple of his other children’s books out of the library. In With You All the Way, originally published as The Song of the King, Carlisle, Alon, and Cassidon are known by all in the kingdom as the bravest and best knights who serve the King. But now the time has come to see which is truly worthy of the Princess’s hand in marriage. As the Prince tells the three of the King’s test, the knights understand the danger of the journey before them. And with only the King’s song to guide them and one other to accompany them, they must prepare for the adventure of their lives–an adventure which may cost them everything. Who will the victor be–Carlisle the strongest, Alon the swiftest, or Cassidon the wisest?
One reviewer wrote, “I don’t know if I can express my disdain for the theology expressed by this supposedly allegorical tale without spoiling the ‘surprise’ of the story line. Let’s just say that while my son loves the knights in the book I have a number of objections to the portrayal of the King, strongly suggested to be like God the Father. God does not send his servants into life-threatening peril as a test. He does not abandon us.” I do believe that this person totally missed the point of the allegory, which is that God is always with those who do His will. Another reviewer responded, “So I love this book. It’s blatantly Christian….Wonderful. I still bawl every time I read it….Some Christians may complain of just how their God is used, but I think they’re just trying to whine. It’s enchanting as a fairy tale and as a powerful message.” As with Jesus’s parables, one must be careful in any figurative story not to take some aspect and twist it out of shape to mean something not intended.
Another Lucado book that we checked out of the library was Small Gifts In God’s Hands (2000) with illustrations by Cheri Bladholm. Set in Biblical times, it tells about a young boy, Elijah, who meets Jesus and rushes home to tell his mother, expressing his desire to give Jesus a gift, but as he looks around at their meager possessions, nothing seems suitable. His mother reassures him that Jesus won’t care about the size of the gift. During the week Elijah hears about various gifts which people give to Jesus, such as lending him their home so he can preach and providing him with a meal. But Elijah has nothing. One day he and his mother go to hear Jesus teach. A large crowd has gathered, and soon everyone is hungry and tired. Elijah and his mother have brought only enough food for themselves, but they offer Jesus what they have—five loaves and two fishes. Elijah learns that God can do great things with a small gift. The book brings to life one of the most loved stories from the Bible, the feeding of the multitudes, as children hear the story told from the perspective of a young boy who learns that no gift is too small for Jesus.