Book Review: The One with the Scraggly Beard

This week, I’m thrilled to share The One with the Scraggly Beard by Elizabeth Withey with you. This illustrated children’s story is well worth the read. Though the words are few, they are rich and sure to stay with you for a long time to come.

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Sometimes, the right words for a book this wonderful come slowly. The story’s events are seen through the eyes of a young boy who is overflowing with questions about someone he calls The One with the Scraggly Beard, a homeless man who sleeps beneath a nearby bridge.

Readers might expect a little boy to be full of questions, but what sets him apart is his ability to really see someone whose life is so unlike his own, while also possessing the innocent courage it takes to understand that they aren’t so very different from one another after all.

Elizabeth Withey and illustrator, Lynn Scurfield, have bravely crafted a story that will fill readers with the longing to recapture all that’s best about a child’s heart and the willingness to ask the hard questions and truly see painful realities.

Read this one aloud with your children. Your family won’t soon forget it, for The One with the Scraggly Beard is one of those rare books that will simultaneously leave your hearts broken for the hurting and put the pieces back together with the hope that, one day, as love and empathy flourish, the pain of all those sleeping under bridges tonight will be healed.

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You can connect with Elizabeth Withey on Twitter and Lynn Scurfield on Instagram

And for more wonderful stories, connect with Orca Books on Facebook

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This weekend, the next installment of Chip and the Book of Rose Leaves will be available! If you’d like to catch up on past installments, you can do that here.

Until then,

Alexandria

Book Review: Redemption At The Eleventh Hour

Synopsis (provided by author):

“Living off thievery and evading the Roman authorities, Dismas is a man who looks out only for himself. But when a sudden misfortune leaves him stranded in a small village on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Dismas has an opportunity to leave his fugitive existence behind. As a hired hand on a fishing boat, Dismas finds pleasure in work for time, and peace out on the sea. It’s an honest life—and he may have even found a woman to share it with.


But then tragedy strikes, and Dismas sets out on the road again to seek a man he’s been told is capable of miracles. However, being touched by the divine grace of this man cannot save Dismas from the Roman authorities if they finally catch up with him for his past misdeeds. As Passover approaches, Romans and Jews alike converge on the chaotic city of Jerusalem, where Dismas navigates trials of persecution, conspiracy, and murder that ultimately lead him to be an eyewitness to the most pivotal moment in human history.


With vividly imagined depictions of events from the New Testament, Redemption at the Eleventh Hour is the exciting tale of one man’s difficult journey towards salvation.”

Review:

Redemption At The Eleventh Hour is sure to be one of the most unique books readers will encounter this year. Dismas, a seemingly irredeemable thief with no remorse for his actions, has a chance meeting with Leah, a local fisherman’s daughter, an encounter that ultimately plants the seeds of change in Dismas’ heart. But this is not your run-of-the-mill redemption story; a twist of fate alters the course of Dismas’ life, leaving a soul ravaged by past shame open to grace and healing in the most unexpected of ways.

Andrew Crown has successfully crafted a redemption story that stands out beautifully amidst the many meaningful stories in Christian fiction. His descriptions, for all their simplicity, allow readers to easily imagine themselves placed in the most significant moment in all history, and they will be eager to follow Dismas down dusty, country roads to the streets of Jerusalem as he searches for Jesus and a life full of real meaning.

The characters, even those who play a more minor role, are memorable and unique. Whether it is the cruel and vengeful Roman, Bricius, or kind-hearted Leah, readers are alternately repulsed by and drawn to Crown’s characters. These are fully-imagined human beings with faults and redeeming characteristics in equal measure, making what could have been “just another book” a truly worthwhile read that will leave readers with questions and an undeniable thirst to know Jesus better.

The only issue with the novel is the grammatical errors. While every book has them, it became obvious fairly quickly that the book could use another thorough round of editing. That being said, Redemption At The Eleventh Hour is a pleasantly surprising story that is sure to remain with readers for a long time. In a world that often focuses on the negative and the “realistic,” it is refreshing to come across a book that celebrates the reality that people can, indeed, change, thanks to the One Who paid the price for our redemption.