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Bob Hartman – The Prisoners, the Earthquake and the Midnight Song: A true story about how God uses people to save people

Illustrated by Catalina Echeverri

The Good Book Company

Board book

ISBN 978 1 78498 700 8

Price £4:99

16 pages

Who doesn’t love the story of the Paul and Silas singing at midnight in the Jail in Philippi? Bob Hartman tells this familiar story with simplicity using the theme of listening to what is going on in the story … snoring … singing … an earthquake … crying … shouting, and then singing again.

Some who have read the book have wondered whether the darker moments in the life of the jailer might be a little too old for 3-6-year-olds. The darker themes of what the jailer might be intending to do with the sword he has on his lap are left to the imagination. Parents reading the book might need to anticipate questions about it.

Road-testing this on my two youngest grandchildren – who are six and seven – was an interesting experience. The seven-year-old said “I like the bit where it says, ‘Listen can you hear it?’ Because I like it when they are listening to the voices singing. I like the signs that are used: the cross for Jesus, the fruit of the spirit, and the Holy Spirit.” The six-year old said: “I like the bit when the prisoners shake because the earthquake is really strong.” 

This rhythmic story is greatly enhanced by the striking illustrations of the talented artist Catalina Echeverri, which capture well the movement and mood of the story.

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex. He is Director of Training at the School of Preachers in Riga, Latvia

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