HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Escape Underground
Author: Clint Kelly
Cover Illustrator: Chris Ellison
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers, 2001
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Kelly, Clint. Escape Underground (published in 2001 for Heritage Builders, a ministry of Focus on the Family by Bethany House Publishers, a ministry of Bethany Fellowship International, 11400 Hampshire Ave. S., Bloomington, MN 55438). Eleven year old Mara lives in Jerusalem with her parents and younger brother Nathan who is ten. Her father Joshua is a respected architect, but he is also a leader of The Way, which is what the followers of Jesus Christ are called. Mara and her brother, along with their friends Obadiah and Sarah, have formed the New Israel Club which is made up of true Hebrew Christian kids, as opposed to Jewish kids from Greece and Cyprus, like Karis, a Caesarean whose father Timon was a servant in the church, and Akbar, an Egyptian from somewhere near the Nile River, who have come to Jerusalem and are looked on by some as outcasts. However, problems arise. The children end up watching as their friend Stephen is stoned, and a man named Saul of Tarsus leads a persecution of the early church.
One day Saul’s men interrupt a meeting of The Way in Mara’s home and arrest all of the friends’ parents. The kids manage to escape, but will they be hunted down too? What will happen to the adults? And who manages to lead the others to safety in the sewers and tunnels underneath the city? This well-written, imaginative, and worthwhile book is another of the “KidWitness Tales” series of stories which attempt to portray young people living in Biblical times facing problems relevant to today’s youth. In addition to a better understanding of the New Testament background regarding persecution, the important lesson that youngsters can learn is about accepting people whose social class and background are different from their own. Author Clint Kelly is a communications specialist for Seattle Pacific University and has also written Scent, the first book in the “Sensations” series.