Disclaimer: The Big Pig Stampede, by Bob Hartman, was provided by Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.
Hiya! I’m Gideon, aka Goat Boy. I live in a wacky world where Roman soldiers push people around, crazy people seem to be everywhere, and my biggest fan is this silly pet goat! Life can be harsh when you’re a nomadic kid traveling around no-man’s-land with your family, selling junky pots and pans just to survive. On the other hand, life can be pretty amazing, too, because where ever we go, we seem to end up in the right place at the right time to see the miracles and teachings of this guy named Jesus! This is your chance to walk in my sandals and see how following Jesus around changes everything—now and for the rest of our lives!
The Big Pig Stampede is basically a bunch of Jesus’s miracles told through the eyes of the boy Gideon. It reminded me a little bit of that old video series The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible where the three kids go back to biblical times. Except, of course, Gideon doesn’t go back in time.
My feelings are actually a little mixed on the book as a whole. On the one hand, it’s a funny book and I can definitely see kids reading and loving it. It’s an interesting way to retell the miracles of Jesus and connect them all together even more with the side plot of Gideon’s family’s business. And in general, children do tend to enjoy books with protagonists that are like them then books without, so Gideon’s age would also help draw a child in to reading about the miracles of Jesus.
On the other hand, I’m not sure how I feel about retellings like this in the first place. Why do we feel like we have to make the stories of the Bible more “accessible” to children? Why aren’t they considered accessible now? Why can’t we just give our child the miracles of Jesus to read rather than The Big Pig Stampede? Introducing sophisticated things to children makes them more sophisticated and it teaches them to stop expecting people or things or books to cater to them, rather than actually reaching beyond their grasp and thinking on their own about things.
The Big Pig Stampede is a fun little book about Jesus’s miracles, carefully tailored to hit all the right “buttons.” But speaking for myself, I’d rather have my child read straight from the source—or even from a children’s Bible that’s a bit more simplistic but less hokey than this book—than something like what Hartman wrote. I don’t mean anything against him or the book—I just don’t really see the reason for it.
My rating: 3/5
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian
You can buy this here: The Big Pig Stampede (Goat Boy Chronicles)