Cover Image: Imagine... The Giant's Fall

Imagine... The Giant's Fall

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Member Reviews

I would like to thank Barbour Publishing and the Netgalley website for this partnership.

I was immediately attracted by the cover of this book which is beautiful.

It features the pretty Wren Evans in her fifth year who remembers just one thing: getting off the school bus before the world disappears and discovering her house in flames. She will find herself in a valley with David a shepherd.

Can't wait to read the whole series. This book gave me a foretaste of what would happen next.
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I didn't realize this was part of a series or that it was Bible stories when I requested it. Not my interest. I apologize for wasting your time with this request.
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First sentence: The giant grabbed the girl and lifted her high into the air. He yanked her up so hard and fast she thought she was going to pass out. Her struggle to get out of the monster's powerful grip was over. Despite the way the Bible story ended, it appeared the girl was not going to be as lucky as the young shepherd boy.

Premise/plot: Wren Evans is a young girl--mourning the loss of her mother AND her home--who finds herself transported back in time. The good news is that she gets to meet David before he was king, when he was just a shepherd boy. She also gets to FLY AROUND on the back of an angel named Josephine. Josephine is there to tell her that she's super-special to God and that she's needed to fight in God's army. The bad news? Well, she won't just be a witness to Goliath threatening the Israelites, to David's epic showdown with Goliath...she'll BE IN GOLIATH'S FIST DURING THE EPIC SHOWDOWN SCENE. During her time in the past, she'll learn that God is trustworthy and maybe just maybe things will be okay even though her house burned down, even though her mother is dead, even though her super-awesome-special MANUSCRIPT which already has a publisher was "lost" in the fire.

My thoughts: I am an adult. Would my opinion of this one be vastly different if I was eight years old? If I had read less widely? I don't think my issue was with the time travel. (I love time travel. Always have. My favorite Star Trek episodes growing up were the ones with time travel.) I think I had issues with several things.

First, the focus wasn't on the Bible story itself. The book wasn't so much giving readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of David, the plight of the Israelites, the culture of the Philistines, or Goliath himself. The book seemed to rely more on King Kong or possibly Jack and the Beanstalk than Scripture. I could easily imagine this giant going around saying Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum and mumbling. And why would Goliath pick up a child and carry it around in his fist and stomp around? Yes, Goliath was a giant. Yes, he was a soldier. But seriously?!

Second, the focus seemed more on the angel Josephine (who's able and willing to give piggy-back-flights to young children) and symbolic butterflies appearing as signs than on God the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Ghost. It's not that I don't believe in angels. There was just something very Touched-by-an-Angel-ish about this one.

Third, I find it difficult to believe that a child (fourth grader) would write a book, find a publisher, get it published, sell copies, touch lives, change the world. We're led to believe that Josephine has a large part to do with the book's success--BUTTERFLIES--but still. The stories that fourth graders write can be super-precious and charming and wonderful to parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, their own teachers. But ready to publish a real (not vanity press) book?!?!

If I was eight, if I was looking for an incredibly happy ending, if I didn't give much thought to how silly it was...would I find it a compelling read? I just don't know.
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An unusual look at a biblical story through a child’s eyes.

Wren is a young girl with very deep heartaches. As she is trying to figure out life in today’s world and with today’s problems she suddenly finds herself getting an eyewitness view of a story she knows from the Bible. I love the fact that she does learn some valuable lessons through it. At the same time the story seems to have a number of very weird twists that made it hard to follow and understand.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.
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This is an imaginative way to tell the story of David and Goliath. The author has done a good job of making his readers feel the terror that the Isrealites would have felt as they faced the giant. The lessons Wren learned about trusting God were valuable, too. On the other hand, I did not appreciate all the supernatural aspects in this story, with Wren being carried around by angels.
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I picked this up not knowing what to expect, and I was kind of disappointed.

First of all, the Bible story was changed... quite a bit. I got quite lost in the middle because of all the changes. Also, the end of the book was rather strange and that itself made me decide this book was not for me.
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I really didn’t know what to expect when I decided to read Imagine…The Giant’s Fall, but something about it seemed to point to a book that was worthy of reading. And in many ways it was. Short but impactful, Imagine…The Giant’s Fall invites readers to feel more than see the journey Wren Evans (the main character of this story) embarks on as she struggles with the pain of great loss. Along side that journey is the thrilling spark of adventure as Wren experiences firsthand the start of young David and the defeating of Goliath. Which was pretty cool, to be honest. And even though this book is geared toward a younger audience than myself, I was still able to follow and connect with the lesson of this story.

This book teaches the valuable lesson of having faith in God even when everything seems to be going wrong. And that with God, all things are possible. I think readers of all ages would like that reminder just as Wren did. Moving and exciting, Imagine…The Giant’s Fall is a book I’m glad to have read.

*Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for providing a free copy for my honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own*
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Number four in this Bible adventure series, Matt Koceich’s “Imagine: The Giant’s Fall” tackles some weighty issues. Wren Evans recently lost her mother to cancer and arrives home from school to see her house engulfed in flames. The key Bible verse for this story is Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” When Wren suddenly finds herself in ancient Bethlehem, this Scripture takes on new meaning. She meets a shepherd boy named David and embarks on a treacherous journey into the midst of a battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, the principle fighter of which is—you guessed it—Goliath.  

Unfortunately, this book fell a bit flat for me. While I understand that this is a kids’ adventures series, I wish that it had spent more time on the Biblical aspect. The overall message about trusting God and having faith is good, but the execution is lacking. Wren definitely takes center stage, and David is just a peripheral character. He has very little role in the story, which surprised and disappointed me. Wren’s venture seems disconnected from David’s narrative, and her time in Bethlehem passes very quickly, without allowing the reader to be truly immersed in the setting. Furthermore, the spiritual warfare aspect of the tale is interesting but again does not fit well with the rest of the story. One of the central figures is a female angel, which is not Biblical, and the end of the story seems to make reference to the book of Revelation, but I was confused with some of the details, which again do not seem to line up with Scripture. Overall, this is an interesting read for young kids and pre-adolescents who enjoy exciting stories, but take note that it is not Biblically accurate.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
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As I said in my review for the third book in this series, If you're looking for a book with more biblical accuracy this isn't one I'd recommend, but if you're looking for Adventure within the Christian genre I believe kids would enjoy this.

One thing that I like about this series is that the main characters fluctuate between boys and girls, making this a series that would appeal to both boys and girls. There is plenty of action and adventure to keep them turning the pages. At just over 100 pages, it's not a very long book, and I would compare the reading level to the Magic Treehouse books that are popular in the targeted age group.

Personally I would have preferred to see less interference from Wren into the original biblical events. It's a powerful enough story in itself that to see it before her eyes would have been an incredible sight to see. In my opinion her role was overplayed to the point that it took away from the original truth.

Do I believe kids would enjoy this story? Yes. Do I consider it a better alternative to many of the books they currently have at their disposal? Absolutely. Is it biblically accurate? No. Is it a fun story? Yes. Is it my favorite? No.

*I received a copy of this book through NetGalley. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
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My son enjoyed this book. He couldn't put it down and was captivated by this fictionalized version of the well-known story.
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Wishing difficult circumstances away, Wren Evans finds herself transported from present day Kansas to a pasture near Bethlehem in 1020 B.C., where a flock of sheep is soon menaced by a bear and a wolf.  And so begins Wren's adventure with the shepherd boy David.

Soon finding themselves taking food to David's brothers in the Israelite army, it isn't long before they encounter the giant Goliath.  But it isn't merely Goliath that poses a danger to Wren, as an angel and smoke demons enter the story.

As in the previous three entries in the Imagine series, this short book is a fun and exciting way for young readers to experience a Bible story.  It is action packed and quickly paced, though the length and pace do contribute to the need to make some leaps within this story.  But it is all building to what the angel says will be an important role Wren and the other time traveling adventurers will play in some coming struggle that is not yet named.

This series continues to convey messages of strength and faith in a way that is likely to connect with young readers.  In this entry in particular, there is also a strong emphasis on the supernatural forces found in the Bible.

As the stories are building up to some future unifying event, young readers are likely to want to read every book available.  More sensitive readers may find some of the violence and peril difficult, but it is all in keeping with the biblical stories.

This review refers to a digital galley voluntarily read through NetGalley at the invitation of the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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This is one of the cases where I should have paid more attention to what the book was about before requesting it. This is definitely a book I would not have chosen, since I don’t really get into religious material. Keeping my own personal thoughts out of this, I reviewed based on story flow and How I feel the target audience would receive this.

This essentially is Wizard of Oz meets Bible Stories. I could understand the emotions and thoughts that Wren was experiencing at the beginning of the book. I feel that a child processing grief could potentially benefit from this book.

Now onto my critique. I feel the pacing was off. At times I felt ‘lost as to what was going on. I also feel good vs evil was portrayed a little too much as black and white. For the target audience that may be a good thing but evil isn’t always obvious nor is it always easy to escape. I also feel as though Wren accepted things too easily. 

To sum up: Plot receives a 4 star review. Execution receives a 3 star review.
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Imagine... The Giant's Fall is part of the Imagine... Series. I enjoyed reading this one with my children. We give it four stars.
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Imagine- The Giants Fall by Matt Koceich is another great story for your pre-teen/teen reader. Wren has lost her mother to cancer and returns from school to see her house being destroyed by a fire that burns the book manuscript she is supposed to mail to the publisher today. Where is God and why has he forsaken her? She is overwhelmed and sits down on the street to pray asking God why he has forgotten her and her dad only to awaken in Biblical times to meet David the shepherd. She walks with David through the story but at times is separated and has to face and fight the demons. She does remember a verse she carries with her on a card- “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  
We know how the story ends if we are familiar with the Bible but there is plenty of excitement and action along the way. We will also learn, after she returns to the present, how Wren’s life is changed by the experiences she has had. I believe this book would be a great read together for a youth group or even parent and child. There are a lot of issues brought up that could lead to wonderful discussions and for some younger readers may need some support to deal with. For example, the possibility that a child could lose a parent. As always, the writing is excellent and the style keeps the reader engaged throughout. I give this book 5 of 5 stars. 
I received an advance copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Things I liked:
The portrayal of the unseen battle between good and evil. Showing yhe reality of spiritual warfare in a context kids can grasp. 
Dealing with the effects of grief, loss of mom, etc, was encouraging. 

Things I didn't like:
The changes to the biblical storyline were more than I was comfortable with.
The flashback to mom's salvation experience, while I loved it by itself, it was somewhat jarring to get there and back. 

📌 I received an advance copy of the book from @NetGalley. I chose to review it here and all thoughts are my own.
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A fascinating take on the story of David and Goliath. A great message for young readers. I would recommend this book for readers aged 8-12.
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This is a wonderfully written book. It is full of action and adventure that holds your attention from beginning until the end. It is a fictional story about David and Goliath that has an important message for kids 8 - 12; God is bigger than any problem you face in life. Thank you Barbour Publishing via NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. This is my honest opinion.
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The story begins by introducing the reader to Wren, a fourth grader who had written a book with a friend about a girl who had lost her mother to cancer - that girl was Wren. Wren was on a school bus reading an green index card with Matthew 19:21 printed on it. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Suddenly the children heard sirens and saw smoke from a nearby neighborhood - it was Wren’s - she got out of the bus, ran to her Dad, and he told her their house had burnt down!
Wren was devastated, her book manuscript had been destroyed, she lost her mother, and now her home! She felt devastated and she started running from the pain and finally collapsed on the sidewalk when she heard a voice say “Open her eyes.” 
Wren got up and saw a flock of about 30 sheep, and she decided to go pet them, as she did so, she saw a huge bear run towards her, Wren panicked and ran for a huge boulder and jumped - she made it and the bear started going after the sheep and it ran away with one!
Just then Wren saw a teenager dressed in a leather vest and pants run after the bear and he came back bloodied with the sheep in his arms! 
He introduced himself as David and Wren and David have quite an adventure getting kidnapped by Goliath, being rescued and learning about God’s power.
You will enjoy Wren’s comments, how her view of life changes, and how her “giants in life” fall!
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