Tales of the Kingdom by David and Karen Mains
Tales of the Kingdom at any given point reminds the reader of The Wizard of Oz, Aesop’s Fables, Arabian Knights, Chronicles of Narnia or any number of Disney’s children’s classics. Tales of the Kingdom is comprised of a dozen short, interconnected, fantasy stories directed at children. Like Aesop’s Fables, each tale ends with a moral. Like C.S. Lewis’ imaginary world, children, magic, mythological creatures and a Christ figure are prominent throughout. The stories are fairly well written and beautifully illustrated.
Two things will trouble some readers. First is the magic/mythical element. Scripture condemns involvement with sorcery of any type and strictly forbids the believer being involved with such. Yet much of children’s literature, including Christian-based, is full of magic, sorcery and the like. Some believers are deeply bothered by this glorification of the forbidden. The problem is being consistent. If the Mains are wrong to lace their tales with sorcery, then so is Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Disney, as well as John Bunyan in his Pilgrim’s Progress. Still, this is a problematic issue, one worthy of debate.
The second troublesome matter concerns the Mains’ morals. True to their psychological bent, many of the morals sound more like Oprah than Scripture. Some examples:
p. 24 – “She found the orphan she had been seeking—herself.”
p. 30 – “For all who live by the rhythm of the inner timing, which the King approves, find a place in the Kingdom all their own.”
p. 46 – “The pig girl…had a tender place in her heart for all things ugly because she knew a King who could find something beautiful in every garbage heap.”
p. 54 – “There is a kingdom within that must first be conquered before one comes brave enough to challenge the world without.”
p. 55 – “The King [the Christ-figure]… lived among the outcasts in order to feel their pain.”
p. 68 – “And so the boy discovered that seek-the-King is a wonderful game,” an obvious reference to the Mains’ “God-hunt.”
While each of these morals resonates with much that passes for Christian teaching today, they would have a difficult time passing the test of Scripture and are founded more in secular wisdom than biblical.
Overall, Tales of the Kingdom is interesting fantasy with questionable use of sorcery and moral conclusions that often fall short of biblical teaching.