A dear friend lent me Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey, a version of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress that has been adapted for the youngest generation, and oh, how much we enjoyed it!
Classics that have been abridged usually do a disservice to the original, and to our children. Books should “should provide material for their mental growth, should exercise the several powers of their minds, should furnish them with fruitful ideas, and should afford them knowledge, really valuable for its own sake, accurate, and interesting, of the kind that the child may recall as a man with profit and pleasure.” (Charlotte Mason), and so a general rule, I try to avoid literature that has been “dumbed down.”
See: 4 Suggestions for Weaning Children Off Literary Junk Food and, What Is A Living Book | 6 Characteristics of Great Literature
Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey is an exception, and I couldn’t help thinking of how pleased Mr. Bunyan would have been to see how this beautiful rewrite of his masterpiece captured the attention of our youngest four especially (ages 3-9)!
I’ve read Bunyan’s Classic several times, and different things have stood out to me in different seasons of my life. I’m having a hard time discerning whether it was the particular emphasis of this adaption, or whether current circumstances were a deciding factor, but I was so encouraged by the characters Faithful and Hopeful in the story, how they encouraged and helped Christian along their journey to Heaven.
Godly friends who point you to Christ when you’re tempted to despair, who lift you up when you stumble, who talk of Christ’s beauty and the everlasting glory that awaits all those who put their trust in Him, are precious indeed! This adaptation was an encouragement to seek out those friends and by God’s grace, be that kind of friend to others.
Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey is an excellent book to use for oral narration as well. Each chapter includes 2 questions at the end of the story, and additional questions in the back of the book for older kids, or those who want to dig deeper.
I highly recommend this hard cover, beautifully bound, masterfully transcribed version of Pilgrim’s Progress for children aged 9 and under. You can find it here.