More Gifts for Kids: a new Pilgrim’s Progress and a Christmas picture book

First an acknowledgement: Rousseaux Brasseur, the author of these books, was the much-loved children’s ministry lead at our church when our daughter was in elementary school. Last summer he served for a week as pastor at Camp Harlow, where our daughter volunteers as a teen counselor. Needless to say, I am hardly an unbiased reviewer. But I can attest to the character of the author as a clever, quirky, open-hearted individual with a deep love for Jesus and young people.

Brasseur’s Pilgrim’s Progress debut was a live-action musical by the same title released in 2017 by Rogue Valley Fellowship in Medford, Oregon. (Click here for the full video on YouTube.) Writer Brasseur acts in it as Faithful, one of Christian’s companions on his embattled journey to the Celestial City.

In 2020 Harvest House released this print volume, richly illustrated by Katya Longhi. At just over 208 pages, the adaptation of John Bunyan’s classic is well suited for elementary-aged read-alouds or independent reading by middle schoolers. The content is markedly faithful to the 17th-century original, but Brasseur’s rhyming text pulls readers along and makes for easy access. Glossy pages and frequent full-page illustrations enhance the aesthetic appeal. It is also available as a dramatized audiobook.

This title, beautifully illustrated by UK-based artist Sian James, sets out the complete nativity story in straightforward rhymed verse. With a few instances of advanced vocabulary (virgin, betrothed, contemplated), it could be read by or with a range of ages, from preschool to upper elementary.

When our daughter was younger I spent considerable time in pursuit of Christmas books that engaged children at various ages and embodied the beauty, mystery, and truth of Christ’s birth. This would certainly have made my list. As with Pilgrim’s Progress above, Brasseur not only tells the story but makes it personal. The final page concludes with:

“Now, friends, this is no fairy tale, or folklore myth of glory–
Although miraculous, this is the one true Christmas story.
…From ancient days up till today, to all who trust in Christ,
The Father gives forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.”

Both of the above titles receive rave reviews on Amazon. Brasseur’s latest innovation is The Quester, a series of videos he characterizes as a modern Pilgrim’s Progress. It engages with issues young people wrestle with, like fear, identity, and purpose. A musical feature film, “The Quester and the Great Search for Truth” debuts on Christmas day 2023. Click here to learn more.

Leave a Comment

Filed under book review, children's literature, picture books

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *