My family reviewed the new Christian chapter book series The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, published by WorthyKids/Ideals. This included The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2).
This new series, written by M. J. Thomas, follows 9 year old Peter and his 10 year old sister, Mary as they journey back in time. In Book One, the siblings were dropped off at their Great Uncle Solomon’s house for a month as their parents left for Africa. Solomon is an archaeologist who travels around the world, but he mainly likes to find artifacts that prove the stories from the Bible are true.
The kids soon realize that their great uncle has some secrets hidden right under their nose! In his library, there is a hidden room, and in it, a glowing clay pot filled with the Hidden Scrolls. These scrolls are said to unlock secrets and prove the Bible is true. Each scroll is sealed with red wax, and the legend is that only the chosen ones have the ability to open them and travel back in time to different events happening that are recorded in the Bible.
During the night, Peter and Mary, along with their uncle’s dog, Hank, are awaked by the sound of a lion roaring. This prompted them to get out of bed to check it out, and to their surprise, when they came to the scrolls, one of them opened! Incredibly, they were the chosen ones. The children were quickly transported back in time with their canine companion.
In the first book, they went back to the time when God was creating the world as we know it. Unfortunately, instead of just being able to enjoy as visitors, the duo must translate 3 Hebrew words on the scroll or they can not go back to their modern time. Luckily, they didn’t have to figure all of this out on their own because they met and received help from God’s angel, Michael!
Michael tells Peter and Mary the rules for their adventure and assures them that God will help and protect them. That certainly doesn’t mean that the kids wouldn’t have struggles. In fact, they had many in the two books, but they were always under God’s protection.
In the first book, the kids did see Adam and Eve, but they were unable to interact with them as they were the very first people and it would have changed history had they seen OTHERS like them! They also met a serpent who tried to trick them, but the kids knew to stand up to him and believe God and his promises instead.
In the second book, Peter and Mary went back to the time of Noah and his ark. They are able to meet Noah and his wife, as well as his sons. Unfortunately, they also meet the greedy and sinful townspeople nearby, including Noah’s own brother who has become estranged from him. Through their adventure, they are able to translate 6 Hebrew words on the scroll this time, as well as to help Noah and his family set sail and leave in the ark, even though the Dark Ruler (Satan) tries to ruin their plan. Michael swoops back in during this battle to help fight him, as well as a large, fearless Lion.
In both books, the children come back to present day and share their adventures with their eager great uncle. He wants to hear of their travels and is giddy with excitement that the children were chosen and got to experience the Bible firsthand.
At the end of each book, there is a page that talks more about the Bible story that the kids traveled to. It lists the Bible book and chapters, as well as gives a short summary of the part of the story you would read about in that place in the Bible.
The back of the book lists these books at a 1st-3rd grade reading level, good for kids ages 6-9. I definitely think that children older would still enjoy the stories. The books are paperback and just over 100 pages each. There are some black and white illustrations sprinkled in there, and the chapters are short.
My kids enjoyed me reading these out loud to them, but they would make wonderful readers for elementary students to read to themselves. I liked that they combined a Bible story with a little dramatic flair. The stories were fun to read and we enjoyed getting to know the characters. Their personalities would shine through, not only in how they spoke, but in the little bits of information the author threw in there. For example, Peter was exasperated that Mary liked learning. She was always reading something educational. He soon found, though, that her knowledge could come in handy!
I recommend these stories if you’d like to have some wholesome Biblically-based fiction for your elementary students. It’s fun for the whole family, especially if read aloud and with silly voices. I am curious to see if more will come out in the series, and which stories M.J. Thomas will choose to have the kids go back in time to explore. If you’d like a sneak preview of Book One: The Beginning, click the title and sign up for one.
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