These two books are aimed at 8- to 11-year-olds and describe and explain the background and major life events of a variety of inspirational people from the bible. Bible Heroes is aimed at boys and goes through male characters from the bible, assessing their ‘hero rating’ through terms of length of life, family, generosity and so on. The Princess Plan is aimed at girls and goes through female characters in the bible, highlighting the major ‘princess quality’ of each woman. Both books provide bible readings to support the reader as they learn about each character, although the books can be read independently of the bible.
The Princess Plan has interviews with a variety of inspirational Christian women including an author and a musician. It also provides the reader with puzzles and lots of ideas for fun craft, cooking, exercise and dancing activities! Bible Heroes also has puzzles and some ideas for cooking and reflective times.
Both books encourage young people to make a difference. They cover a wide range of difficult issues such as Miriam’s jealousy of Moses and Jacob struggling with God. They give practical and prayerful advice on how to deal with these issues if the reader is facing similar situations. They both provide a number of inventive ways to pray which is great and helpful for people of any age.
The content of The Princess Plan is well written and displayed in a fun and educational way. However, I dislike the fact that the book focuses on the secular generalisation that all girls dream of being a princess. The ‘princess qualities’ it gives each female character are loyalty, faith, friendship and so on and I see no reason why they should be named as ‘princess qualities’ rather than just qualities of God’s people.
Bible Heroes gives each male character a ‘hero rating’ and at the end gives the opportunity for the reader to rate themselves in each area and give themselves a ‘hero’ percentage. I strongly disagree with this idea of judging and analysing other people’s characters and evaluating oneself, particularly at such a young age. I think it has the potential to be quite damaging. The end of Bible Heroes focuses on what the reader can do for God and how hard that journey will be. The end of The Princess Plan focuses on what God has done, what he will do and how you fit into his plan. I think this is more helpful and encouraging, particularly for the young age group it is aimed at.
I think the gender separation of these books is helpful to a certain extent as it can be good to provide Christian role models of the same sex for young people. However, I think that if the content of these books were combined it would be more useful for girls and boys to learn about inspirational men and women from the bible. This could help them develop and become the people of God’s plan.
Reviewed by Caroline Atkins who is a Christian living in Bournemouth.