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The Beginning (The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, Book 1) Paperback – August 8, 2017
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From the Publisher
Discover the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls
This time-traveling series chronicles the adventures of siblings Peter and Mary as they travel back to key moments in biblical history while racing to decode the Hidden Scrolls.
- Written for emerging readers (ages 6 to 9)
- Lexile score included in each book
- Pen-and-ink illustrations throughout
- Reference guide points readers to the biblical story each adventure is based on
Book 1: The Beginning
In the series opener, the time-traveling trio discovers the Hidden Scrolls and is whisked into a nonstop adventure in the Garden of Eden.
Book 2: Race to the Ark
Sent back to the time of Noah, Peter, Mary, and Hank have seven days to solve the secret of the scroll, help Noah finish the ark, and escape the impending flood.
Book 3: The Great Escape
Stranded in the deserts of ancient Egypt, the trio befriends Pharaoh's daughter, watches Moses petition Pharaoh for the Israelites' freedom, and experiences the ten plagues.
Author M. J. Thomas
Mike Thomas grew up in Florida playing sports and riding his bike to the library and an arcade named the Cosmic Cowboy. He graduated from Liberty University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Bible Studies. When his son Peter was nine years old, Mike went searching for books that would teach Peter about the Bible in a fun, imaginative way. Finding none, he decided to write his own series. Mike Thomas lives in Tennessee with his wife, Lori; two sons, Payton and Peter; and their dog, Hank.
Thomas's first book in the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series sends siblings Peter, nine, and Mary, 10, traveling through time to witness the creation of all things, as described in the book of Genesis, after they find a powerful scroll.
It is good! God's voice booms after each step of creation, and the archangel Michael swoops in to help the children when they're caught swimming in a sea without end.
You are the only people right now, so I don't have much going on yet, he tells them. While faithfully reflecting biblical accounts, Thomas injects magic and humor into the story, which continues in Race to the Ark, available simultaneously. Ages 6-9. --Publishers Weekly
In the first adventure in the series, Peter and Mary find themselves witnesses to the creation of the world just as God is speaking it into existence. Can they unlock the mystery of the scrolls before they get trapped in history forever? Children will discover the answer as the two characters ride rhinos, meet the angel Michael, and talk to a certain snake in the Garden of Eden. Riveting text and engaging illustrations bring this beloved Bible story to riotous life.
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Instead of outlining the plot, I would like to point out a few surprises in the book that make it singular when compared to other books in its category.
Peter, his sister Mary, and Hank, the world’s smartest dog, can’t choose, as time travelers, what time and place they will travel to. The Biblical narrative of creation describes the destination of their first trip: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and the darkness was upon the face of the deep.” That haunting description could wear out the most imaginative minds, but author M. J. Thomas fearlessly dumps our heroes right into that situation and describes it with such masterly ingenuity that it could be considered a literary coup. This section alone is worth the price of the book, but you’ll have to read it yourself to appreciate its fullness.
Another surprise is how well and thoughtfully the book is written. The characterizations are well-observed and pointed. For example, Mary “never cried…or laughed much [because] she was too smart and serious for that sort of thing.” Additionally, Mary was smart but a little prideful and misguided as to the reason for her intellect. When asked by Uncle Solomon if she knew what and archaeologist was, she responded, “Of course I do…I’m ten years old.” Finally, “She was always right.”
The book abounds in clever expressions and bits of humor. The soup that Uncle Solomon prepared and proudly served “…tasted like soggy cardboard and warm pond water.” Peter “…froze like a popsicle.” The snake in the garden was “beautifully scary” and had fangs that were “…sharper than steak knives.” The snake also amuses because of his difficulty in pronouncing words that begin with the letter “s.” Instead of saying “scroll,” he hisses “sssssssscroll.” The snake also has a sense of humor. After a monkey snatched the scroll from Peter, he tells Peter and Mary that he saw a monkey up in the tree with a sssssssscroll. Mary asks him if he will go up into the tree and get the scroll for them. He agrees, goes up the tree, and comes back down with the scroll. Peter asks him, “Where’s the monkey?” The snake gives a reply that is a step removed from the whole truth: “You don’t need to worry about the monkey anymore.” Perhaps Peter and Mary were so happy to get the scroll back that they did not realize the snake had eaten the monkey. The snake, though, knew, and I’m sure he was pleased with his clever answer.
Finally, the book has many lessons from the Bible. At one point, for example, Mary asks Michael, the head of God’s angel army, why he waited so long to come and help them. Michael answered, “I was waiting for you to ask.” John Porter
Imagine the secrets of the Bible that Peter, Mary and their dog Hank discover, when a one month stay at their great Uncle Solomon's house delivers them straight into the book of Genesis.
A refreshing beginning to a new children's chapter book series!