In 1994 Dennis and Naomi Gunderson, along with their four boys started a small company distributing character building Christian books from the 1800s. Little did they know that their small company would become one of the largest publishers and distributors of these types of materials! Thanks to the Schoolhouse Review Crew and Grace & Truth Books I had an opportunity to use a rare book called With the Children on Sundays by Sylvanus Stall.
With the Children on Sundays: Through the Eye-Gate and Ear-Gate and Into the City of Child-Soul was originally published in 1893 and considered one of the greatest family worship books ever written. This book has been out of print for decades and is currently only being published by Grace & Truth Books!
The book itself is an over-sized paperback measuring approximately 7" by 10." The cover is a facsimile of its original cover. The book contains 330 pages, 52 chapters, each including cute illustrations and pictures. Although written as a Sunday devotional, the readings in this book could be used any day of the week. Stall has taken critical Bible principles and created wonderful stories that touch your heart and encourage your imagination.
How to use this book:
The book is designed to be read to the children on Sundays. Stall understood that, for many little children, Sunday was the worst day of the week. A quiet, somber day to be dreaded versus a wonderful day to celebrate the Lord. He wanted to change this attitude among families so he created the book With the Children on Sundays to offer parents a valuable tool to make Sunday one of the best days of the week.
First, to do this, he recommends that the children "play church." A wonderful idea! Using role-play have your children re-create church at home. (Of course this is not a substitute for actually going to church, this role-playing game is in addition to your regular church attendance). Quite literally create your "car." Let your kids "drive" you to church. Upon arrival set up chairs just like your church. Have your kids bring all their "friends", stuffed animals, dolls, etc. Give your children an opportunity to preach the sermon or teach Sunday school, pass the offering tray, sing hymns, greet you at the door, lead everyone in prayer and so forth.
Next, Stall offers the suggestion that each little story in the 52 chapters (notice that it corresponds with every week of the year) could be used by one of the children or parents to teach the "sermon" or lesson. The stories are adorable allegories of Biblical principles! For example, chapter 1 tells the story of the Oyster & the Crab and the principle of "how to keep a good conscience." At the beginning of each chapter Stall offers suggestions to the parent to increase tactile learning, like in this instance, acquiring a few oyster shells would enhance the lesson by giving the children an object to observe.
The end of each chapter offers several questions to generate a discussion. This correlates the story with the topic and brings understanding to what was just read. This section also gives you a peek into the next week and reminds you of what to find for your object lesson for the next sermon.
Stall also shares other ideas for making the most of your Sabbath. After "church" offer a light snack, cut pictures out of magazines to create scrap books or posters to use in your next lesson, role play Bible stories, color pictures, word games and Bible drills. In fact the book includes 2 pages of Bible Questions and Answers!
Another nice feature about the book is the pictures. The illustrations are the pen & ink type typical of vintage books. They make great coloring pages!
While we did not actually "play church" every Sunday, the readings have served as fabulous lessons for our once-a-week family night! It is a great book full of wonderful stories with character-filled object lessons.
With the Children on Sundays retails for $17.50 and would make a wonderful addition to any family library!
I also want to mention, Grace & Truth Books has a pretty amazing website. They have so many amazing books that are rare and hard-to-find. Each time I got on their webpage to begin writing my review I became distracted - shopping! Their website is definitely worth browsing! They offer free shipping on U.S. orders over $49.00. Find them at http://www.graceandtruthbooks.com/
Many of my fellow crew mates reviewed different books from Grace & Truth Books, to read their reviews follow the linky below...