Thursday, June 19, 2014

Amy Le Feuvre: A Child's Author


Amy Le Feuvre wrote many children's books.  Her stories are highly entertaining, as she portrays the play and fancies of children, skilfully weaving into her stories important lessons.  The way of salvation, and our duties to God and man are clearly laid out.  There are a few doctrinal errors, but overall, she presents excellent lessons in an easily understood and interesting format.
However, wisdom should be used in determining if and when to allow children to read or listen to these books, for she often includes mischievous escapades in her stories, and these are likely to stir up folly in younger children.  Below are reviews of three of her best-known works.

Teddy's Button

     Possibly the best known of Amy Le Feuvre's books, Teddy's Button is the story of a soldier's son, who loves to tell the story of how his father died as a war hero.  He discovers an enemy in a competitive sailor's daughter, who professes to despise him and his precious button, which belonged to his father.  After Teddy's salvation, his enemy is converted into his best friend, and they go through several adventures as Teddy proves that he is indeed a "soldier of Jesus", and tries to serve his "heavenly Captain", and to fight against his "bad self", which will sometimes overcome him.  But he always gets back up, and returns to the battle.  A dangerous accident is used to save Nancy, and the button is lost and found again in a surprising manner.
Lamplighter Theater has produced this book as an audio drama.  Parts of the story have been edited, especially the end.  It is an entertaining audio, but, as with all radio dramas, it is somewhat over-dramatized.  Also, the danger in allowing children to listen to of productions in this sort is that they will lose all desire to read or listen to the plain reading of the book itself.
This story is available on Gutenberg and Librivox (Version 1, Version 2).

Jill's Red Bag

      "And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house:  and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee."  (Genesis 28:22)
     This verse becomes very important to Jill and her two younger siblings when a new governess takes charge of them.  The three children are loving and intelligent, but have been left too much to themselves, and sometimes their imaginative play gets them into trouble.  When Ms. Faulkner takes charge of them though, they suddenly are presented with a living example of a Christian, and soon Jill begins to follow the Lord.  It is then that she vows to give a tenth of all her money to Him, and begins collecting it, and as many tenths as she can get from other people, in an old red bag.
     When she visits a village without a church, and hears from the minister how desperately one is needed there, she knows what to do with her tenth.  Small though it is, her simple act of faithfulness leads to surprising results.
     As with Teddy's Button, it may be best to skip some of the mischievous (and hilarious) adventures of the three siblings.  Other than this, the book is very good!
This story is available on Project Gutenberg, and is in the process of being recorded for Librivox.


Probable Sons

     Possibly this may be my favorite book which I have read by Amy Le Feuvre.  It is the story of a little orphan girl who comes to live with her bachelor uncle, much to his disgust at first, but soon he wouldn't part with her for anything.  She loves to act out the different stories in the Bible, and her favorite one is the "probable son", as she calls it, being unable to pronounce "prodigal".  In her childish way, she unconsciously witnesses to her uncle, and various other "prodigals", who are wandering in the darkness of life without Christ.
     This book does not have the intentional mischief occasionally present in the others, however, there are a couple of places which may need to be explained to younger children.  Particularly the part where she strays from her nurse, and is found telling a young man to go be reconciled with his family.  She calls him a "probable son", but the nurse calls him a tramp.  The encounter turns out very well, but a reminder that young children ought not to talk by themselves with strangers may be appropriate.  Also, when she speaks of Jonathan and David "hugging and kissing", it may be wise to either rephrase that spot, or remind children that while in some countries this is considered a perfectly appropriate way of displaying affection, it is not so in America.
This book is available on Gutenberg, and Librivox.

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