A Review of 'John Calvin' by Simonetta Carr

As a parent, I am always looking for reading resources for my children which are true to the Christian faith without being preachy or moralistic. One such new resource, for ages 7-10, is in the church library: John Calvin by Simonetta Carr and beautifully illustrated by Emanuele Taglietti. This new book is the first in a proposed series, the 'Christian Biographes for Young Readers' series, from Reformation Heritage Books. Augustine, John Knox, and B. B. Warfield are among other anticipated volumes. This one came out first in honor of the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth (July 10, 1509). The book has much to commend. Clearly written, Mrs. Carr deftly and ably distills Calvin's life and writings, highlighting the main points, noting his weaknesses, and drawing some important lessons from Calvin and the Reformation. In addition, she casts the story within the larger historic framework of the Reformation and Europe, noting important reformers like Martin Bucer and Theodore Beza as well as Roman Catholic foils such as Cardinal Sadoleto. The illustrations and pictures add depth to the story, giving clarity to Calvin's home, Geneva, and the Geneva Academy in Calvin's day. The broad layout, chapter tabs, time line, and 'Did You Know' section at the end all make the book user-friendly, adding depth to the story and explaining some things not common to us today. One such word was a game Calvin often played called 'quoits' similar to our game of horseshoes.

While this book is written for pre-teen children, most everyone would benefit from reading this book. It gives a concise, abridged version of Calvin's life and importance. Certainly all who are members of a church named in honor of this great reformer should have a working knowledge of his life. This book will provide that. Also, children will certainly benefit from hearing of a man who lived a life well spent. Calvin worked hard, studied hard, and produced vast resources which the church still uses today. Calvin is definitely a model for young children to emulate.

I would encourage you to check out this book to read to your children or have your children read it. While this serves as an introduction to Calvin's life, it may be a springboard to reading other hisitorical Reformation accounts as well. Happy reading!