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“You will know Satan by his lies. He will try to trick you with lies and turn you against God,” the angel Michael. –The Beginning
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls #1
by M.J. Thomas
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Series follows siblings Peter and Mary and their dog, Hank, as they discover ancient scrolls that transport them back to key moments in biblical history.
In the first adventure in the series, Peter and Mary find themselves witnesses to the creation of the world just as God is speaking it into existence. Can they unlock the mystery of the scrolls and return home before they get trapped in history forever? Children will discover the answer as the two characters ride rhinos, meet the angel Michael, and talk to a certain snake in the Garden of Eden.
For many young readers, God creating the Earth may be a difficult concept to understand. The Beginning will help readers understand how God created the earth. While the story revolves around the creation story, Peter and Mary must also discover three clues that will help them answer the secret of the scroll. If they fail to solve the secret, they will never be able to return home. Finding the clues to answer the secret adds suspense. However, Peter and Mary stumble upon the answers, which takes away some of the fun of discovering the clues.
Readers will get caught up in Peter’s and Mary’s adventures and feel awe as God creates the world. The story includes black and white illustrations that appear every one to three pages. The illustrations will help young readers understand the plot as well as show the beauty of God’s creations. For example, when God says, “Be fruitful and multiply to fill the water and the sky,” one illustration shows birds and another illustration shows sea life.
Since Satan plays a part in the creation story, readers will also learn how Satan can deceive you. The angel Michael warns the siblings, “You can’t trust everyone or everything you may hear.” Peter and Mary are saddened when Adam and Eve are kicked out of the Garden of Eden. However, their uncle reminds them, “God still loved man and woman. . . God provided for their needs. Even though Satan and sin entered the world, God would forgive and fix everything someday.”
The Beginning is perfect for children who want to learn about the creation story. Peter and Mary are likable protagonists, and their dog Hank adds some humor to the story. While the story is not fast-paced, it has enough suspense to keep readers engaged. The kids’ uncle makes a brief appearance at the beginning and end of the book. While he doesn’t play a large role in the story, Peter and Mary share their adventure with their uncle and he is able to add insight into the kids’ experience. The Beginning is an entertaining story that teaches the importance of listening to God’s truth and not being tricked by Satan’s lies. For more exciting time-traveling adventures that teach biblical truth, check out the Imagination Station Series by Marianne Hering & Paul McCusker.
- Satan, disguised as a snake, tries to trick Peter and Mary. When the snake’s plan does not work, “the snake wrapped himself tighter and tighter around Peter, Mary, and Hank. Peter tried to get his arms free, but they were trapped in the snake’s powerful grip. The snake was squeezing the hope out of Peter.”
- The snake eventually lets Peter and Mary go. In order to get the scroll back, “Mary ran straight toward the snake. She did a front flip and jumped into the air with a spinning kick to the snake’s mouth.”
- When the kids get the scroll back, the snake “sprang toward Hank and the scroll. Mary jumped with another kick, but the snake slipped under it this time. The snake put another deadly grip around Peter, Mary, and Hank. It was much tighter this time.”
- The angel Michael helps the kids escape. “Michael swung his flaming sword and struck the snake’s head. . . The snake coiled tightly, showing his sharp fangs, and then darted straight at Michael. But Michael held out a large, shining shield. The snake’s head smashed into the shield and he fell to the ground with a thud.” The snake scene is described over a chapter.
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- Peter and Mary transport back in time, to before God created the world, with the help of a scroll. When Peter opens the scroll’s wax seal, “the walls shook, books fell from the shelves, and the floor quaked. . . The library began to crumble around them. Then everything was dark. . . completely dark.”
- The story retells how God created the Earth in seven days.
- While in the past, the angel Michael helps Peter and Mary. When Michael first meets the siblings, he explains that he is “an angel of God. I am the head of God’s angel army, and I have been sent to protect you.”
- Michael tells the kids to “trust God and remember what you have been taught.”
- While enjoying the sunset, Mary says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky shows the work of his hand.”