I don't think you'll find a more captivating read-aloud for perhaps 5 or 6 -10 year olds, and honestly, why stop there? We've loaned it to a family of young teens and I think they're going to love it too. The edition given to us has all three Kingdom Tales books in one and each chapter is fantastic (though I would skip completely the Carnival's Daughter in book 2 and be ready to censor the story as needed if it's just too intense for reading to littles.)
At our house, story time is usually after lunch, just before the kids' rest time and my afternoon quiet time. How can I put in words how my heart was compelled in prayer the day that I read the chapter The Forbidden Princess? Hot tears poured down as I asked for Amanda's weapon and war strategy and aim!!! And after reading Grandma Vigilantes, which I (silly) wept straight through almost every single word of, there were more deep knee bends from this mama and perhaps more understanding from our kiddos for what mama was after in her time bent down at the bedroom window.
And there's Scarboy's fire-defying escape from Enchanted City, there's Mercy and Caretaker, Amanda and her dragon, and in the final chapter of the first book, there's Hero's entrance.... which is only the beginning... of e.v.e.r.y.thing. Just the the way the Rangers of the King cry out to each other "How goes the world?!" "The world goes not well, but the Kingdom comes!" Could there be any truer, greater call to courage and hope and passion? And they shout their battle cheers for each other too: "For the King…. and the Kingdom!" Yes! Oh my soul....YES!
There is the issue of eschatological perspective in Kingdom Tales that I take with liberty as "story". I have much more to learn about that realm and I don't endorse the ideas in Kingdom Tales as truth-telling of the end times of our world, but I do take this book with great joy for the magnificent story that it is. Oh, I wish I could get a copy to all of you friends! I would love to hear if you read it, how you like it...
As I read through Kingdom Tales with the kids, Matt and I are also slowly reading through John Stott's commentary on the Sermon on the Mount and loving it too. Stott's meditations on the beatitudes have been churning in my soul for weeks and I hope I never move past it. Stott describes the whole Sermon as Jesus presenting his culture, a Christian counter-culture, to his disciples. He tells of the ways of His kingdom of light to the ones who live in the dark of this world.
Jesus begins his introduction, his explanation of a Christian counter-culture by declaring what he calls blessed. It's nothing like what the world admires or applauds. The first thing Jesus opened his mouth to say is this:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."