Author: Vinny Flynn with Brian Kennelly.
Published: Tan Books
Age Range: 8 – 14
I had mixed feelings about reviewing this book. It is not really a “story” as such. The book endeavours to explain Divine Mercy for children. It is loosely held together by the notion that a narrator is guiding two children through a museum – the Museum of Mercy. The narrator directs his/her instructions and teachings to us, the readers, as if we are children walking through the museum.
From the start, I wondered if children in the younger readership age range will really be able to understand, or be ‘held’, by the text. Some of the concepts are quite complex, and there are pages of unbroken text which will be difficult for many younger readers to navigate. This confusion I felt, is probably due to the way the book is presented – two young children on the cover gaze up at the image of Divine Mercy. After reading and thinking about this book, I believe it would be of far more value to an older age group – probably Year Seven and up – that is 12 or 13 years of age and up.
The premise of the book – that two young children are walking through a museum of mercy – coupled with some of the experiences they encounter such as the distorting mirrors and the upside-down room, are clearly aimed at a younger readership. On the other hand, there is no real ‘story’ that drives us forward through the pages and chapters. Instead, we read through what is essentially a series of lectures about Divine Mercy.
Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that this is a children’s version of an adult book – the author has had much success as an author and renowned expert in Divine Mercy. He has spent years talking about, writing about and teaching about Sister Faustina, her diaries and the image of Divine Mercy. The reviews I’ve read have been positive about the book, but my interest was not held and personally I would hesitate to give this book to younger children to read.
So having said that, this book would be useful for teachers and homeschoolers who are looking for resources to teach about Divine Mercy. As a classroom teacher or homeschool teacher I would probably take what I need out of the book and leave the rest. There are useful questions at the conclusion of each chapter to aid understanding and contemplation. The chapters on Saint Faustina and the actual image of Divine Merce are interesting. The rest of the book is actually, in my opinion, theologically dense and could have been redesigned and marketed to a young teen age range. So, by all means, take what you will from this book – use the prayers and explanations that are relevant to your lessons and children. Otherwise, I’m afraid it’s a bit of a thumbs down from me.