HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Book of Sorrows
Author: Walter Wangerin Jr.
Cover Illustrator: Jacqueline Scardova
Publisher: Zondervan, republished in 1996
Related website: http://www.zondervan.com (publisher)
Language level: 3
(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)
Recommended reading level: Ages 16 and up
Rating: *** 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Wangerin, Walter Jr. The Book of Sorrows (published in 1985 by Alive Communications Inc., 7680 Goddard St., Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920; republished in 1996 by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI 49530). In this sequel to The Book of the Dun Cow, the rooster Lord Chauntecleer, his loving wife Pertelote, John Wesley Weasel, the mouse Tags, and the other familiar characters of the Coop struggle to put their shattered lives together following the terrible summer battle with the dreaded serpent Wyrm. But their respite is short-lived because Wyrm was only defeated, not destroyed. An exceptionally hard winter arrives, and into this struggling community, Wyrm again inserts himself. There will be dire consequences for everyone. What will happen to Chauntecleer when he goes to fight Wyrm again, this time alone? Can he find the dog Mundo Cani? And how might a lowly, frightened coyote named Ferric help? I liked The Book of the Dun Cow with its allegorical fantasy about the battle between good and evil.
It would seem that the main message of The Book of Sorrows is that the evil within is just as great an enemy as the evil without. However, I found the sequel a little more difficult to follow and thus to understand. Also, disappointingly, there is a noticeable amount of what most Christians would call bad language with both profanity and cursing. In addition to the frequent appearance of a childish slang term for the rear end, the name of God is often used as an exclamation, and both the “d” and “h” words are found. For example, John Wesley Weasel seems fond of saying “what-a-he**, and once even Chautecleer comes out with a “G*d d**n it!” Otherwise, I might recommend the book more highly. Apparently, it was revised and republished by Diversion Books in 2013 as The Second Book of the Dun Cow: Lamentations. Also, there is now The Third Book of the Dun Cow: Peace at the Last.