CSFF Tour – North! or Be Eaten Day 3

On the 600th post of this blog (whoa), I’m happy to finish off this CSFF Tour with my review of our feature book North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson.

The last two days have been my take on a whimsical overview of North! and the previous book On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. Whimsical, because that’s the tone that Peterson has used for this series. You can tell he has a lot of fun writing these books.

North! is actually a lot more intense than the first book. It is a little dark at times. In Dark Sea, he probably had fun setting up the fictional world of Aerwiar, while the second book takes on the tone of an Empire Strikes Back. The Igibys are forever being chased, hiding, or escaping some impossible situation. The short, punchy chapters keep the action going, and the almost non-stop cliffhangers always leave my boys howling for more (as we have been reading it at night the last couple of months).

Peterson has a wonderful imagination, and it shows in his characters. They are deep characters for a young adult novel. Most of the viewpoint is from 12 year old Janner, who feels a burdening responsibility for his family, in the midst of all the peril. He is a noble young man who has faults, loses his temper, and makes mistakes.

Also, Peterson is a noted songwriter/singer, so there is a lyrical nature to his prose. You can tell he takes care with the words he uses. The result is a finely crafted book that is entertaining and offers some deep insight into the human nature, sin, forgiveness, and rising up to your potential.

As I said, I’m reading it to my boys, ages 9 and 8. My eight year-old thinks it’s the best book he’s ever read, and he’s a good reader. I think it is a great book for reading out loud, because it’s fun enough to really get dramatic with it. It is well-written enough for adults to really enjoy it as well.

If you’re wondering if there is quality Christian fiction out there for your children, then this would be the first place I would recommend. And if you want more information, go to the bottom of Becky Miller’s first post, where she has a list of all those who have posted for the tour.

CSFF Tour – North! or Be Eaten Day 3

On the 600th post of this blog (whoa), I’m happy to finish off this CSFF Tour with my review of our feature book North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson.

The last two days have been my take on a whimsical overview of North! and the previous book On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. Whimsical, because that’s the tone that Peterson has used for this series. You can tell he has a lot of fun writing these books.

North! is actually a lot more intense than the first book. It is a little dark at times. In Dark Sea, he probably had fun setting up the fictional world of Aerwiar, while the second book takes on the tone of an Empire Strikes Back. The Igibys are forever being chased, hiding, or escaping some impossible situation. The short, punchy chapters keep the action going, and the almost non-stop cliffhangers always leave my boys howling for more (as we have been reading it at night the last couple of months).

Peterson has a wonderful imagination, and it shows in his characters. They are deep characters for a young adult novel. Most of the viewpoint is from 12 year old Janner, who feels a burdening responsibility for his family, in the midst of all the peril. He is a noble young man who has faults, loses his temper, and makes mistakes.

Also, Peterson is a noted songwriter/singer, so there is a lyrical nature to his prose. You can tell he takes care with the words he uses. The result is a finely crafted book that is entertaining and offers some deep insight into the human nature, sin, forgiveness, and rising up to your potential.

As I said, I’m reading it to my boys, ages 9 and 8. My eight year-old thinks it’s the best book he’s ever read, and he’s a good reader. I think it is a great book for reading out loud, because it’s fun enough to really get dramatic with it. It is well-written enough for adults to really enjoy it as well.

If you’re wondering if there is quality Christian fiction out there for your children, then this would be the first place I would recommend. And if you want more information, go to the bottom of Becky Miller’s first post, where she has a list of all those who have posted for the tour.

CSFF Tour – North! or Be Eaten Day 2

On day 2 of our tour supporting the latest book from Andrew Peterson, North! or Be Eaten, you may wonder “Why North?” and “Why would they be eaten?” or perhaps even “Who’s eating who?”

Never fear, for your questions will be answered.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the first book in the series, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, the Igibys are running from the only home the children have known to avoid the dastardly Fangs of Dang. Janner Igiby now knows he is the Throne Warden of Anniera, charged with protecting the king, his younger and impulsive brother Tink. Along with his sister Leeli (the first Song Maiden in generations), his ex-pirate grandfather Podo (complete with peg leg and bushy eyebrows), mom Nia, and family friend Oskar N. Reteep, they are fleeing the grasp of the Nameless Evil that drives the Fangs (known as Gnag the Nameless).

Since the Fangs of Dang are green, scaly, and resemble walking lizards, the Ice Prairies in the North would be the ideal place to hide from them. That is where the Skreean resistance, lead by the mysterious Gammon, hides. Biding their time, they wait to find the key to rid their land of the terrible invaders.

Unfortunately, they have to survive the terrors of Glipwood Forest, make it past the thieving, murderous lot of Stranders of the East Bend, and even face the dark bowels of the Fork Factory.

Will the children, heirs of a lost kingdom, and their family make it past these woes and travails? Will Janner find what it takes to fulfill his position as Throne Warden? Will Oskar again be able to be the Appreciator of the Strange, the Neat, and/or the Yummy? And what of the new and terrible Grey Fangs? The Florid Sword? Bomnubbles?!

As you can see, there are many more questions about this young adult fantasy. Questions that may not be answered here, but you can be sure will be stoked as much as possible as I give my review of the book tomorrow, the penultimate day of the tour!

Oh, and see my pals on the tour for further strange and neat posts (doubt they will be particularly yummy…)

CSFF Tour – North! or Be Eaten Day 2

On day 2 of our tour supporting the latest book from Andrew Peterson, North! or Be Eaten, you may wonder “Why North?” and “Why would they be eaten?” or perhaps even “Who’s eating who?”

Never fear, for your questions will be answered.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post about the first book in the series, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, the Igibys are running from the only home the children have known to avoid the dastardly Fangs of Dang. Janner Igiby now knows he is the Throne Warden of Anniera, charged with protecting the king, his younger and impulsive brother Tink. Along with his sister Leeli (the first Song Maiden in generations), his ex-pirate grandfather Podo (complete with peg leg and bushy eyebrows), mom Nia, and family friend Oskar N. Reteep, they are fleeing the grasp of the Nameless Evil that drives the Fangs (known as Gnag the Nameless).

Since the Fangs of Dang are green, scaly, and resemble walking lizards, the Ice Prairies in the North would be the ideal place to hide from them. That is where the Skreean resistance, lead by the mysterious Gammon, hides. Biding their time, they wait to find the key to rid their land of the terrible invaders.

Unfortunately, they have to survive the terrors of Glipwood Forest, make it past the thieving, murderous lot of Stranders of the East Bend, and even face the dark bowels of the Fork Factory.

Will the children, heirs of a lost kingdom, and their family make it past these woes and travails? Will Janner find what it takes to fulfill his position as Throne Warden? Will Oskar again be able to be the Appreciator of the Strange, the Neat, and/or the Yummy? And what of the new and terrible Grey Fangs? The Florid Sword? Bomnubbles?!

As you can see, there are many more questions about this young adult fantasy. Questions that may not be answered here, but you can be sure will be stoked as much as possible as I give my review of the book tomorrow, the penultimate day of the tour!

Oh, and see my pals on the tour for further strange and neat posts (doubt they will be particularly yummy…)

CSFF Tour – North! Or Be Eaten Day 1


Ah, the CSFF Tour is back again! And we have an excellent book to discuss, the latest in the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, North! or Be Eaten. (Please note the exclamation point is part of the title…)

I featured this book in 2009 for another book tour (for which I did receive a review copy of the book, for disclosure purposes, see addendum on page 39084 subsection HK-47).

For those who missed out, let me explain the first book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Wait, there is too much. Let me sum up:
– Fangs (they’re bad) invaded Skree
– The Igibys include Grandpa Podo, Mother Nia, boys Janner and Tink, and the youngest Leeli
– Nobody likes the Fangs
– The Fangs don’t like nobody either
– Peet the Sock Man is strange, but he seems to watch over the Igibys
– Nia makes great maggotloaf
– The Fangs are looking for the Jewels of Anniera, a far away land no one believes in anymore
– The Igiby kids don’t know what the Jewels of Anniera are…

(Spoiler for the first book)
– The Igiby kids are the Jewels of Anniera

– Watch out for toothy cows
– Finally, the Igibys are on the run from the Fangs

If you kept up with that, then you will be ready for more silliness tomorrow! Until then, enjoy my fellow tourmates, who should be able to provide some more useful information, and perhaps more silliness…

(P.S. I love ellipses…)

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Amy Browning
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Steve and Andrew
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher

CSFF Tour – North! Or Be Eaten Day 1


Ah, the CSFF Tour is back again! And we have an excellent book to discuss, the latest in the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, North! or Be Eaten. (Please note the exclamation point is part of the title…)

I featured this book in 2009 for another book tour (for which I did receive a review copy of the book, for disclosure purposes, see addendum on page 39084 subsection HK-47).

For those who missed out, let me explain the first book, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.

Wait, there is too much. Let me sum up:
– Fangs (they’re bad) invaded Skree
– The Igibys include Grandpa Podo, Mother Nia, boys Janner and Tink, and the youngest Leeli
– Nobody likes the Fangs
– The Fangs don’t like nobody either
– Peet the Sock Man is strange, but he seems to watch over the Igibys
– Nia makes great maggotloaf
– The Fangs are looking for the Jewels of Anniera, a far away land no one believes in anymore
– The Igiby kids don’t know what the Jewels of Anniera are…

(Spoiler for the first book)
– The Igiby kids are the Jewels of Anniera

– Watch out for toothy cows
– Finally, the Igibys are on the run from the Fangs

If you kept up with that, then you will be ready for more silliness tomorrow! Until then, enjoy my fellow tourmates, who should be able to provide some more useful information, and perhaps more silliness…

(P.S. I love ellipses…)

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Amy Browning
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
Andrea Schultz
James Somers
Steve and Andrew
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Elizabeth Williams
KM Wilsher

Bible Study Resources

The best 9 month investment of my life was spent reading a book 5 times.

Back in 1995 (getting farther all the time…) I was privileged to go to the School of Biblical Studies through Youth With a Mission in Canberra, Australia. Yes, we basically read the Bible five times through those nine months.

We learned the Inductive Bible Study method, which places an emphasis on learning the literary and historical context for the book of the Bible one studies, and reading the text and listening to what it says. It is contrasted with Deductive Bible Study, where one goes to the text with a preconceived idea and tries to find support for it in the Bible.

Those nine months did more for me in grounding me in the Word, and was invaluable to this day. Now I have found that it can be a resource for anyone.

There is a website entitled “The SBS Podcast” that gives downloadable teachings from some of the key leaders in the SBS system. You can download them directly from the site, and you can also subscribe to it through iTunes.

I highly recommend this resource for foundational Biblical study. There are topics from the Trinity, to Israel in New Testament times, to specific teachings on books of the Bible. I have a longtime personal friend as one of the teachers, and Ron Smith, who runs the SBS program within YWAM, has been a Bible teacher and author for years.

Oh, and the best thing: it’s free.

I encourage anyone interested to check out this great free resource for the Body of Christ. YWAM’s motto is, “Know Him and make Him known.” One of our best ways of knowing God is through His Word.

Bible Study Resources

The best 9 month investment of my life was spent reading a book 5 times.

Back in 1995 (getting farther all the time…) I was privileged to go to the School of Biblical Studies through Youth With a Mission in Canberra, Australia. Yes, we basically read the Bible five times through those nine months.

We learned the Inductive Bible Study method, which places an emphasis on learning the literary and historical context for the book of the Bible one studies, and reading the text and listening to what it says. It is contrasted with Deductive Bible Study, where one goes to the text with a preconceived idea and tries to find support for it in the Bible.

Those nine months did more for me in grounding me in the Word, and was invaluable to this day. Now I have found that it can be a resource for anyone.

There is a website entitled “The SBS Podcast” that gives downloadable teachings from some of the key leaders in the SBS system. You can download them directly from the site, and you can also subscribe to it through iTunes.

I highly recommend this resource for foundational Biblical study. There are topics from the Trinity, to Israel in New Testament times, to specific teachings on books of the Bible. I have a longtime personal friend as one of the teachers, and Ron Smith, who runs the SBS program within YWAM, has been a Bible teacher and author for years.

Oh, and the best thing: it’s free.

I encourage anyone interested to check out this great free resource for the Body of Christ. YWAM’s motto is, “Know Him and make Him known.” One of our best ways of knowing God is through His Word.

Is Avatar Eden?

Is he still talking about the movie Avatar?

Yeah, one more time. Sorry.

I posted a couple of times about it last week. It’s a fertile topic on the blogosphere. I didn’t think about writing on it until I saw the CNN article that described how some fans of the movie were depressed that life on Earth wasn’t as good as on the alien planet Pandora, and angry at our own race for ruining our planet.

It seems people are considering Pandora as equivalent to the Garden of Eden, or even heaven. A new CNN article talks about the eruption of new fan sites related to Avatar. A member on one forum encouraged people to get over their “Avatar blues” with this advice: “‘Start living like Neytiri: in touch with nature, the environment, and not being greedy and wasteful.’

I think God’s creation is wonderful. Watching the clouds envelope a snow covered butte in the desert sun this afternoon was breathtaking. I get mad when I am hiking and find garbage in streams (and I’m known to carry a bag to pick up trash). So I’m not against caring for creation and enjoying its simplicity.

Fiction and stories exist to light our imagination about other places, ways to live, viewpoints, and experiences. I can’t fault people for taking in Avatar and making fan forums and such. I’ve always enjoyed the Star Wars universe, and have been involved in similar internet activities.

Still, when people idealize the Na’vi and Pandora, and call it the new Eden, I think there’s some faulty thinking there.

The Na’vi are shown as warriors, but at peace with their environment, even one with it through the goddess All Mother, or Eywa. Pandora is a beautiful sight to behold, with the colors and luminescence shown throughout the film. Still, where did they develop their fighting skills, and why do they need them? Neytiri mourned the alien 6-legged canine-like creatures she killed, but she sure knew how to deal damage. We miss out on a lot of context – the movie is cut and edited in such a way that the Na’vi are shown in the best light compared to (most of) the humans. They sure exhibited human-like emotions like jealousy, aggression, and contempt. If those behaviors are present, then how can we expect that the Na’vi won’t mess things up like we have.

Becky Miller had a good insight into the artificiality of the movie when she commented on my first Avatar post. She said:

The article also made me think more about the Eden-like world of James Cameron.
Since we weren’t actually there, we experienced it as free of insects, snakes and spiders, though it was dense jungle. The temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees (or whatever the theater folks set it at), so Pandora never got too hot, or too cold, no matter how high in the clouds they went.

We were programmed to have an optimal experience, from comfortable chairs, ambient temperatures, and probably fattening snacks. How well would we enjoy Pandora with some of those critters after us?

Finally, there seems to be an inclination that we need to “return to Eden,” i.e., return to a simpler time. Native tribes that are still left are also idealized, although they may commit acts that the rest of the world finds barbarous, like the Amazon tribe that leaves any suspect baby out in the elements to die, considering it unfit.

We think pristine wilderness is ideal. It is beautiful, but also, by definition, WILD. There’s a reason we call it that. It is hard to survive nature in comfy chairs and soft pillows padding us.

Christians should understand that we are not actually heading back to an Eden-type lifestyle. The book Revelation tells us that God is preparing a New Jerusalem for us. We are moving into a grand city, a heavenly community, that is our final destination for those who trust in Jesus. We are not going back to a primitive state. We are moving into a new ideal, where we join together like we were always meant to be, with trees whose leaves provide healing for the nations (Revelation 22:2).

I have no problem with people enjoying a movie and a created universe so much that they bond together in forums and groups to kindle their shared interest. I just think Avatar is not the high and holy standard that some are making it out to be.

Is Avatar Eden?

Is he still talking about the movie Avatar?

Yeah, one more time. Sorry.

I posted a couple of times about it last week. It’s a fertile topic on the blogosphere. I didn’t think about writing on it until I saw the CNN article that described how some fans of the movie were depressed that life on Earth wasn’t as good as on the alien planet Pandora, and angry at our own race for ruining our planet.

It seems people are considering Pandora as equivalent to the Garden of Eden, or even heaven. A new CNN article talks about the eruption of new fan sites related to Avatar. A member on one forum encouraged people to get over their “Avatar blues” with this advice: “‘Start living like Neytiri: in touch with nature, the environment, and not being greedy and wasteful.’

I think God’s creation is wonderful. Watching the clouds envelope a snow covered butte in the desert sun this afternoon was breathtaking. I get mad when I am hiking and find garbage in streams (and I’m known to carry a bag to pick up trash). So I’m not against caring for creation and enjoying its simplicity.

Fiction and stories exist to light our imagination about other places, ways to live, viewpoints, and experiences. I can’t fault people for taking in Avatar and making fan forums and such. I’ve always enjoyed the Star Wars universe, and have been involved in similar internet activities.

Still, when people idealize the Na’vi and Pandora, and call it the new Eden, I think there’s some faulty thinking there.

The Na’vi are shown as warriors, but at peace with their environment, even one with it through the goddess All Mother, or Eywa. Pandora is a beautiful sight to behold, with the colors and luminescence shown throughout the film. Still, where did they develop their fighting skills, and why do they need them? Neytiri mourned the alien 6-legged canine-like creatures she killed, but she sure knew how to deal damage. We miss out on a lot of context – the movie is cut and edited in such a way that the Na’vi are shown in the best light compared to (most of) the humans. They sure exhibited human-like emotions like jealousy, aggression, and contempt. If those behaviors are present, then how can we expect that the Na’vi won’t mess things up like we have.

Becky Miller had a good insight into the artificiality of the movie when she commented on my first Avatar post. She said:

The article also made me think more about the Eden-like world of James Cameron.
Since we weren’t actually there, we experienced it as free of insects, snakes and spiders, though it was dense jungle. The temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees (or whatever the theater folks set it at), so Pandora never got too hot, or too cold, no matter how high in the clouds they went.

We were programmed to have an optimal experience, from comfortable chairs, ambient temperatures, and probably fattening snacks. How well would we enjoy Pandora with some of those critters after us?

Finally, there seems to be an inclination that we need to “return to Eden,” i.e., return to a simpler time. Native tribes that are still left are also idealized, although they may commit acts that the rest of the world finds barbarous, like the Amazon tribe that leaves any suspect baby out in the elements to die, considering it unfit.

We think pristine wilderness is ideal. It is beautiful, but also, by definition, WILD. There’s a reason we call it that. It is hard to survive nature in comfy chairs and soft pillows padding us.

Christians should understand that we are not actually heading back to an Eden-type lifestyle. The book Revelation tells us that God is preparing a New Jerusalem for us. We are moving into a grand city, a heavenly community, that is our final destination for those who trust in Jesus. We are not going back to a primitive state. We are moving into a new ideal, where we join together like we were always meant to be, with trees whose leaves provide healing for the nations (Revelation 22:2).

I have no problem with people enjoying a movie and a created universe so much that they bond together in forums and groups to kindle their shared interest. I just think Avatar is not the high and holy standard that some are making it out to be.