When I heard of another children’s adaptation of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, I didn’t care since it had been done before countless times. Then I heard this recommendation from Mark Dever about Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey:
Our church has given away books to families many years… and we have never had response like this from the families. People were coming back saying, ‘Our kids are going crazy over this book.’
I’m a sucker for good endorsements, so I picked up a copy of Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey and read it with my four-year-old daughter. I now understand the excitement of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (where Mark Dever pastors)! It’s a beautiful book inside and out and shares an all-time great story. (Did you know that The Pilgrim’s Progress is the most read and translated book in history next to the Bible?)
The Little Pilgrim Trilogy
Each book in the trilogy has 220+ pages and ten chapters of riveting story filled with faith-building allegory. I imagine it’s rare that a book can entertain children ages 2-10 (the stated age range for the books), but each Little Pilgrim volume enjoys a simplicity and a depth just like Bunyan’s original. Each chapter ends with a one-page summary of the biblical message the chapter conveys along with discussion questions, making these books a great teaching tool for parents.
The artwork of the books may be my favorite artwork of any children’s book. While some children’s books are overly cartoony or too abstract, this series strikes the right balance of beautiful, kid-friendly images that help tell the story and show the emotions of the characters.
The first book follows the story of Christian, who is a boy (and not a man like in the original Pilgrim’s Progress). Christian leaves the City of Destruction and follows the straight and narrow path (most of the time) to the Celestial City.
The second book is based on Part II of Pilgrim’s Progress that Bunyan wrote because people wondered what had happened to Christian’s wife in the first. Christian’s wife became his sister in this adaptation for children.
John Bunyan intended to write a third book to show what happened to Christian’s siblings but never completed one before his death. So the third Little Pilgrim book imagines what Bunyan might have written to complete the story, following Christian and Christiana’s two brothers and their new friends. Author Tyler Van Halteren explains, “[The third volume] combines characters from Pilgrim’s Progress with stories from Bunyan’s own life, as well as from the New Testament books of Acts and Revelation.”
My daughter (and I) absolutely loves all of these volumes and we have read them with me more times than I can count. My daughter always wants to read just one more chapter, and we have binge read up to five at once when time allows.
I appreciate the good spiritual conversations I’m able to have with her based on the books and the engaging stories that grip her imagination. The books deal with temptations, the challenges of following Christ, and persevering through difficulty in faith—worthy topics for any adult as well.
The first volume was so good we decided to buy the next two. The second volume may be my daughter’s favorite because Christiana has brown hair and brown eyes like her. (Story time: my nephew peeled off the image from the cover of the second book, and I replaced it with a picture of my daughter. Needless to say, she loves it.) The third volume is my favorite. I won’t share spoilers, but will share that I teared up in the second half of the book at the beauty of our God and the glorious hope we have in Him—not a bad thing to say about a children’s book!
All three volumes are worth adding to your library if you have young kids, and each of the three have special value. Our biggest disappointment: there are only three books in the series! (But at least there’s already one in Spanish.)
I consider these premium children’s books worthy of their premium price tag (about $25 each), and are only beat by children’s Bibles because that content is obviously more important. When you consider that you can spend $15 on a 32-page children’s book, $25 for 224 pages isn’t bad! (An added bonus is that Lithos Kids now offers coloring books based on the books.)
Thank you, Lithos Kids and author Tyler Van Halteren for your work on this trilogy! The Halloran family will read, enjoy, and recommend the Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey trilogy for years to come.
Buy the Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey Trilogy and coloring books at Westminster Books.