Monday, September 4, 2023

Little Pilgrim's Progress: The Illustrated Edition By Helen L. Taylor

Little Pilgrim's Progress
by Helen L. Taylor
Illustrated by Joe Sutphin
Publisher: Moody Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-8024-2053-4

When Moody reached out to me and invited me to join their reviewing team, my first thought was Little Pilgrim's Progress. I had started following illustrator Joe Sutphin on Instagram about a year ago and fell in love with his illustrations. That's where I learned about the book. Moody Publishers sent me this stunning hardcover for review.


Perceiving the need for a simpler version of a timeless classic, Helen Taylor faithfully adapted John Bunyan's allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim's Progress, for young readers—hoping to bring its treasury of wisdom nearer to children's hearts and minds. That version has sold over 800,000 copies! It preserves the original plotlines of Bunyan's classic while telling the story of Little Christian and Christiana in a way that kids can understand.

In this fresh, imaginative new edition, bestselling illustrator Joe Sutphin portrays the characters of Bunyan's tale as animals living in a woodland realm. Children will delight in the lavish illustrations, reading alongside their parents or interacting on their own with the timeless words and beautiful imagery that they discover on every page.

This book will help children see the trials and triumphs of faithfulness with fresh eyes, leading them to declare along with Christian, "I am going to the King!"

My Review:

While I knew this was the children's version of Paul Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, I had no idea the children's version existed before Little Pilgrims Progress: The Illustrated Edition. When my son-in-law saw it on my side table a few days ago, he was SO excited. He said he grew up reading the original Little Pilgrim's Progress! I was really surprised, no realizing it had come out in the 80s! I knew at that moment this book would be a gift to him so my granddaughters can grow up having their daddy reading this book to them.

The story is even more incredible that I had imagined. I remember trying to read The Pilgrim's Progress years ago. It was a little difficult to get involved in the story to be honest. Little Pilgrim's Progress: The Illustrated Edition is perfect for children AND adults. I became thoroughly invested in the story and was able to understand it much better than the adult version.

Christian is a sweet looking bunny who hears about the Celestial City where the King lives. Even though he's made fun of by his friends, he is determined to learn more about where the King is. Christian recognizes he has nothing to offer the King, but the King isn't worried about that. He just wants Christian to come to Him. Along the way, Christian meets Christiana who is also a bit unsure of the Celestial City and the King.

As Christian goes along his journey to the King, he's waylaid by many of the things in life that bog us all down. People will distract us from our path or discourage us. Sometimes they will try to show us a different way, but that way doesn't lead to life. Thankfully, the King will send others along our path to encourage us, help us, and lift us up.

The story is told in a way that children (and adults) of varying ages will be able to grasp the concepts while understanding the deeper meaning for our faith journey. Kids can relate to the early part of the story when Christian is made fun of by his friends. And I appreciate how it can help prepare our children (and grandchildren) for what they may encounter as they go through life.

THIS story is one that should be in every family's home, especially if you have little ones. I would even suggest treading through it once a year so that the littles can glean something new with each reading. I would even suggest the book makes a unique baby shower gift!

One of the only pieces of the story that concerned me was his mother watching over Christian (as she was already in Heaven) and was guiding him. We won't find anything like that in Scripture so I would hesitate to add that piece of the story into my reading to a child. It would've been more appropriate to keep that relegated to the King.

Overall, this is a beautiful story that will teach the little ones more about faith and that it's a journey.

About the Author:

HELEN L. TAYLOR, author of Little Pilgrim's Progress, has carefully rewritten a centuries-old tale in order that children might be able to grasp the truths set out by John Bunyan in 1678. She is now at home with her Lord.

About the Illustrator:

Joe Sutphin is an illustrator of fine books for kids such as Andrew Peterson’s beloved Wingfeather Saga, the newly envisioned edition of Hellen Taylor’s timeless classic Little Pilgrim’s Progress (Moody Publishers) and the official graphic novelization of Richard Adams’s masterpiece Watership Down (Ten Speed - 2023). His love of nature, and of the living creatures in the fields and woods around his home, has informed his art for much of his life. Joe lives in a barn in Ohio with his wife Gina and a bunch of cats.


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