Religious story collections have been a welcome staple in the CBA market, but this digest is disappointingly lukewarm. The compilation kicks off powerfully, with an excerpt from C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe followed several chapters later by a delightful sampling from "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." Fortosis does a fine job writing brief introductions that give the reader some context for each selection. He scores points by including enjoyable, lesser-known pieces such as "The Pineapple Story," by Otto Koning, as well as the poignant classic "Where Love Is, God Is," by Leo Tolstoy, and the beautiful, questioning "Tim," by contemporary writer Philip Gulley. But these are the bright spots. There's a less-than-satisfying contemporary retelling of "Pilgrim's Progress," and some rather dull selections, like "Concerning Lemons." With the wealth of quality classic and contemporary Christian literature to draw from, it's inexcusable to advance multiple offerings from a single author; William Barton alone has four. Any of Fortosis's subhead categories, such as "Childhood Simplicities," might have been better fleshed out as whole books, rather than having selections that meander all over the literary landscape. Although the idea of a collection of classic Christian stories is promising (if not terribly original), this anthology will make readers sigh over lost opportunities. (Aug.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 4 Up-An uneven collection of writings, not necessarily stories and not necessarily written for children. Of the 38 selections, some are excerpts from novels, others almost sermons, while others are stories or remembrances. Readers will find a chapter from C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi," and Leo Tolstoy's "Where Love Is, God Is." Fortosis shortens Barbara Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever into 14 pages and rewrites John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress as a contemporary tale. Less-well-known authors make up the rest of the volume. Colin Greer and Herbert R. Kohl's anthology, A Call to Character (HarperCollins, 1997), is a richer and larger collection for libraries. This one is marginal at best.-Linda Beck, Indian Valley Public Library, Telford, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.