Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. Any long-term reader of this blog knows that we love YWAM Publishing. A few years ago, we used YWAM’s Heroes of History series as Cuddle Bug’s history curriculum for the year. We’ve also read many inspiring tales from their Christian Heroes: Then & Now series. This past summer, we read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which Cuddle Bug LOVED. Therefore, when we had the opportunity to review another YWAM Publishing book, C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller by Janet & Geoffe Benge was a natural choice.
About C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller
All I knew about C.S. Lewis before I read C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller by Janet & Geoffe Benge is that he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia as well as some Christian books and that he was a deeply religious man. This book taught me so much more.
C.S. Lewis, Jack, as he was known to everyone, and his brother, Warren, had a difficult childhood once their mother died. Their father sent both boys off to boarding school, and when Jack complained that the headmaster was abusing boys, his father refused to pull his sons out. He felt the experience would toughen up his boys. Actually, their father remained distance and difficult for the rest of his life.
Jack met another man who had been drafted before going off to World War I and was unofficially adopted by the man’s mother, Janie. Little did Jack know then that Janie would be in his life for the rest of her life. While she was initially a mother-figure for him, as she aged, she became more cantankerous and demanded more of Jack’s time.
Late in life, Jack finds love, which was a surprise to me, as he was in his 50s when he got married.
What We Thought of the Book
We’ve read many, many YWAM books, and, as usual, we learned a great deal from this one.
The girls have already ready The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, so they were excited to hear the chapters about C.S. Lewis’ experience creating those books. They’re also eager to read the rest of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia. One minor thing the girls didn’t like was that when the Benges described each of the Narnia books, they felt that they learned too much about the book. They want to wait and read the Narnia books for themselves.
The book also opened them up to consider reading new books such as those by J.R.R. Tolkein as he was an important figure in Jack’s life.
The girls also loved the historical period that Lewis lived in. We’ve studied and read about WWII a lot, so it was fun when they heard about Lewis’ brother’s experience in WWII and remembered the battles and situations from our studies.
They were also impressed with how dedicated Jack was to Janie Moore. Even when she was so difficult for years, Lewis remained loyal and took care of her.
A Few Words about the Study Guide
As is typical, YWAM did an excellent job with the study guide. We chose not to use it because we’re currently busy with another curriculum, but it is completely possible to have a robust unit study simply with a YWAM biography and the study guide.
The study guide is a buffet, and you can choose what items to use based on what your kids enjoy. There are key Bible verses to learn as well as chapter questions, hands on projects, and essay topics.
One activity I loved and will use with the girls later is the suggestion to create a timeline marking both the important events in Lewis’ life as well as world events occurring at the same time. Because Lewis fought in WWI and lived through WWII, he lived through many important events in history.
Once again, the Benges have created a winning biography. We really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of C.S. Lewis’ works.
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