Book Reviews

Book Review: The Doctor Who Became a Preacher (Rebecca VanDoodewaard)

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The Doctor Who Became a Preacher: Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Rebecca VanDoodewaard has written a series of board books for toddlers about the lives of faithful Christian men and women:

  • The Doctor Who Became a Preacher (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
  • The Man Who Preached Outside (George Whitefield)
  • The Woman Who Loved to Give Books (Susannah Spurgeon)
  • The Woman Who Helped a Reformer (Katharine Luther)

This review is on the first book, and it begins with talking about doctors and how they help sick people. The illustrations are well done, and the people look a little goofy, which I’m sure your kids will like. They look like the average person, and perhaps that’s what is so interesting. No one looks “spectacular.” Just average. On this page, one doctor is even named Dr. Tomato. Your kids will love to hear that a doctor is named “Tomato”!

Next Dr. MLJ is described as a doctor who, because he loves people, he helps them. He’s making a bedside request for a little boy who looks half happy and half worried, as perhaps many would! The backside book cover asks you to find a rocking horse, a boat, and even Queen Elizabeth. There are many toys (and a sock) that you could ask your kids to search out. But as much as Dr. MLJ wants to help people’s bodies, he knows their souls are extremely important too. As a young man he preaches to a congregation of some seven people, but on the next page, as an older man his church is full of people. Funny enough, those same seven people are on both pages; they are just older on the second page. Give your kids some time to look for them too.

VanDoodewaard mentions that all of the people “hear that Jesus can forgive their sins. They hear from the Bible how to live as Christians.” This is a good spot to explain these things, and it teaches them that we are sinners, Jesus can forgive our sins, and we learn how to be Christians from the Bible. Dr. MLJ meets Queen Elizabeth, and VanDoodewaard reminds us that while not all (or most) preachers become well known, “when God keeps them faithful, preachers help people wherever they are.”

This is the only book in the series that I have gotten so far so I’m not able to compare it with the rest of the series. While VanDoodewaard has the gospel in this book, the information about Dr. MLJ is pretty general. He was a doctor who became a preacher, he preached for a long time, met Queen Elizabeth, and was kept faithful by God. This is good, but it’s also very general, and aside from his first being a doctor, this could be said about many preachers. There is little here that sets Dr. MLJ off from anyone else. There are two pages that have only text and no pictures. Perhaps something could have been said there about the many books MLJ wrote, or something specific from his life.

The illustrations were great, even that the people looked merely average. However on the page where a young MLJ is preaching to seven people, there are white gaps around some of the people as if it were too difficult to color in the brown for the pews (and maybe it was). This occurs on the next page where the pews are filled, but it’s much harder to notice since there are so many people. This white space doesn’t happen anywhere else in the book, and your kids won’t mind at all.

The benefit of this book is that it is a simple way to introduce your kids to a faithful Christian who preached for 40 years and wrote many books. Perhaps the simple fact of owning a book about him and hearing his name will give them fond memories of him when they grow up, and it will cause them to want to pick up his books. I actually owned this for a week or two before I even thought about giving it to Micah. I forgot that the book wasn’t really for me, but was meant for him! And, yes, he likes it.

Find it on Amazon and Banner of Truth!

Disclosure: I received this book free from Banner of Truth. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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