by Andy Thomson
134 pages, 1988
If Martin Luther was the "Father of the Reformation" then John Wycliffe must be its grandfather. Like Luther would one hundred years later, Wycliffe argued for sola scriptura, translated the Bible into his own language, denounced the pope and spoke against indulgences.
Morning Star of the Reformation is a fictionalized biography of Wycliffe that gives a fascinating feel for the time. We learn what city life was like, what the common people believed about the Church, what they ate, how they slept and what they did for fun.
Morning Star is intended for children 12 and up, but I think adults looking for a quick introduction to Wycliffe will enjoy it too. It is downright fun to be able to look back in history and see how God was setting the stage, a century beforehand, for the appearance of Luther and Calvin.
It is important to note this is a fictionalized biography. This is particularly true in the first half of the book, about his young life, where most of it is is made up. That isn't a big problem if readers understand which characters and events are fact and which are fiction. However the author waits until the last two pages to clarity how much of this is actually historically accurate, so my one criticism of this very enjoyable read is that the last two pages of the book would have been much better placed at the very beginning of the book.
So my heartiest recommendation... if you read the last couple of pages first.
Related reviews: children's books on the Reformation
Louise Vernon's novel about William Tyndale: The Bible smuggler
R.C. Sproul's picture book on Luther getting his hair cut: The Barber who wanted to pray
William Boekesten's picture book on Guido de Brés: Faithfulness under Fire
Simonetta Carr's picture books on John Knox, John Owen, and John Calvin
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