The Prince’s Poison Cup

The Prince’s Poison Cup, by R. C. Sproul
Illustrated by Justin Gerard
(Reformation Trust, 2008), hb., 35 pp.
Ages 4+

R. C. Sproul’s writings have meant a lot to me for many years, so several years ago I noted with interest when he began writing children’s books. This is the first of his children’s books I have read however. I am now all the more interested to get his other children’s books.

This story is a good allegorical retelling of the gospel. The story begins with a little girl who loves to hear stories from her grandfather. She asks him, “If medicine helps us get better, why does it always seem to taste so bad?” From this question the grandfather tells her a story of how “sometimes things that seem terrible are actually very good.” What follows then is medieval story of a people who rebelled against their good King (the King of Life) and drank from a forbidden fountain. As a result the people became wicked and abandoned the King. Eventually the King’s Son, the Prince came and drank the deadly poison himself. The poison killed him, but the King brought him back to life. The Prince’s action also turned the poisoned fountain into a life giving fountain that restored the people to the King.

The story is well woven bringing in many facets of Christ’s ministry and giving a good grasp of the atonement in basic terms. A discussion guide is also provided in the back to help parents discuss the book with their children. This is a great tool, because although the connections will seem obvious to those raised in the faith, this guide ensures that you can give this book to people with no background in the faith and they will be sure to see the connections being made.

I commend this book heartily. Books like this are wonderful on various levels. For one, I like to be able to present the gospel regularly to my children from various angles. Secondly, this is a great tools for parents, helping them as they read to their children to better grasp the gospel and to learn to interpret some of the imagery of the Bible. Then, this is helpful not only for believing parents, but it can also be a good evangelism tool as you give books like this to non-Christian parents. Often time parents who do not profess faith will want their children to have some exposure to Christianity. Anyone reading this book- young or old- will hear the gospel, and that gospel is still the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16)!

Lastly, the book also portrays a healthy family situation where a grandfather is involved in the life of hid grandchildren, where he is considered a source of wisdom, and where adults take time to tell stories and explain the gospel to children.

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