I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.IMAGINE... The Great Flood by Matt Koceich
Series: Imagine #1
Published by Barbour Publishing on August 1st 2017
Genres: Action & Adventure, Christian, Religious, Young Adult
IMAGINE...The ocean swirled around the boy and pulled him down with unrelenting power. Heavy water churned and tugged at his flailing body like unseen hands yanking him into the watery depths. The fight was finally over. Even though he’d tried to stand up to the enemy, the waves were about to swallow him whole. The last thing ten-year-old Corey remembers (before the world as he knew it disappeared) was the searing pain in his head after falling while chasing his dog Molly into the woods. What happens next can't be explained as Corey wakes up and finds himself face-to-face with not one but two lions! Join Corey and experience the excitement. . .the wonder. . . the adventure. . .as the epic story of Noah’s ark comes to life. Imagine. . .The Great Flood is the first release in an exciting, brand-new epic adventure series for kids ages 8 to 12 written by schoolteacher and missionary, Matt Koceich. The Imagine series brings the Bible to life for today's kids as they ponder what it would be like to live through a monumental biblical event.
Watch for Imagine...The Ten Plagues in March 2018!
I first accidentally stumbled across this book earlier this summer and immediately thought of Munch. He is just as much a bookworm as I am and can spend hours reading, if there’s no electronics available. However, the summer dissipated into weeks with his Dad and time in California with his grandparents. I was alternating a day here or there with his Mom. Makes it hard to really dive into a book of substance. Before I knew it school was back in session and with his alternating weekends between Mom and Dad I was taking a random once a weekend a month or even a stolen day here or there. Not conducive to diving into a book of substance. Then I was working Saturdays and that gave me a scant one day of the weekend to spend with the Minions. Not really easy to dive into a book of substance. Suddenly it was months later, the next book in the series is going to be coming out, and I still hadn’t reviewed the book. I want to read the next book so I better get this review done, with our without His Munchness. The synopsis was intriguing and honestly I didn’t care it was a middle grade book, I wanted to read it!
There were times I found myself forgetting it was a middle grade book and not a young adult book. I found myself getting frustrated at the lack of detail in one thing or another. I found myself feeling it was too simplified. I think I felt that way partly because, as we are well aware, Munch is so far ahead of the curve. His reading level is anything. His appropriate reading level is not. Finding middle grade books (appropriate themes) that will also hold his attention and interest (off the charts intelligence) is difficult. Finding appropriate reading material for him that also interests him is HARD. All the quirky narrative aside, once I was back on track of middle grade thinking I think the level of detail is pretty close to amazing. Taking a simple Biblical truth, that even adults struggle to ‘get’ and cling to, and putting it in perspective for a younger audience is something this book did with amazing style and grace. Learning to trust God with everything. Learning to listen to God even when it doesn’t make sense. Kinda like Noah.
This story takes a young man, Corey, who is upset and worried and frustrated that his family has decided to move from the only home he has ever known in Texas to Florida. He has to leave his community, his neighborhood park, his friends! His mom tries to help him with the idea of this transition but it’s just not enough. What kid wants to leave it all behind, especially friends, for something so different and so unknown? However, with the bump to the noggin as he chases after his dog at the start of a rain storm he finds himself awake and meeting Shem. Shem and his brothers are gathering the animals for the ark that his father Noah had built. Shem had never seen rain. Had never seen clouds. Corey taught him that the clouds in the sky would bring the rain. Shem only knew that when God told Noah to built the ark, Noah built the ark. He trusted God. He trusted God when it didn’t make sense. He trusted God when it was hard. He trusted God with everything. Corey learned a lot about himself and faith and God during this experience. And when he woke up? He trusted God.
There were elements that I felt reached too far. The introduction of a dark wizard/sorcerer/whateverhewas in the ancient time. I don’t feel like it added a lot to the story in terms of Biblical accuracy. I do think it might embrace the concept that Satan is literally everywhere in any incarnation that can best lead the intended victim away from God. It just felt a little too much ‘Ancient Aliens’ for me. That aside I really enjoyed the story, I really think that when I have more than a minute with Munch that is not also wrapped up in real life like feeding him (geez, kids eat like 3 times a day and stuff?!?), and doing laundry, and feeding him (again!?!), and cleaning house and making even more food because yeah 3 times a day plus snacks, he will enjoy this story. If he has any words of wisdom I’ll let him come back and update them in. In the meantime this is a book, and potentially a series, that is definitely worth checking out for your middle grade reader. It’s interesting and contemporary while also drawing truth from the Bible in a way that is sure to be a re-readable hit.