Theo’s Tale of the Good Rat is the first book in The Tales of Little Overhill series. Inspired by the popular Theo animation series, The Good Rat retells The Parable of the Good Samaritan with winsome storytelling and full-color illustrations that will captivate and inspire young readers’ imaginations.
Theo The Tales of Little Overhill: The Good Rat by Mike Joens was not quite what I expected. My children ages 6 and 9 have enjoyed the Theo video collection and that is one reason that I sought out this title. My daughter enjoyed the fun and friendly illustrations by Len Simons but I was not impressed by the book on the whole.
Shoppers who are familiar with the video series may be disappointed for a few reasons:
In the video series Theo narrates – often teaching a biblical principle, revealing a character trait of God, or sharing a story from the life of Christ. The book does not possess that same warm, gentle teaching because it is not told from Theo’s point of view. Also, in the videos Luther and Belfry are playful, mischievous, always getting into trouble but then learning a truth from Theo. In the book, they do not learn anything and are cast as callus priests who ignore the pleas of an injured shrew. Additionally, we have found that even when the videos are delivering a serious message they still use humor to soften the lesson, this attribute was completely absent in the book.
If you are shopping for a quality Christian children’s book I cannot recommend this title. The book is based on the story of the Good Samaritan- the author was kind enough to include a scripture reference “For further reading, see Luke 10:25-37.” However, there is no mention made about the purpose of the story or that it was originally told by Christ himself. God is mentioned only twice “Theo was a kind man who loved God and loved God’s creatures well” & “I will pray that God gives you favor.” While the book is beautifully illustrated I could not get over the abrupt ending – “Now which of these three was a good neighbor to poor Simon the shrew?…I think you know the answer.”
Although I cannot recommend this title I do recommend the Theo Video Series, which is available at FamilyChristian.com.
**I received this book free as a member of the Family Christian Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”