Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sugarwood is Wonderful Storyteller!

The Judges Chronicles:
Rebirth of Shavron
By Ivan Sugarwood
Xulon Press
ISBN: 1-60034-275-2
197 pages

Come Children! Come Everybody! Ivan Sugarwood, the great storyteller, is here to share with us The Judges Chronicles: Rebirth of Shavron! Come and hear how three judges saved the little town of Shavron!

Sugarwood begins with a brief reference to the creation, noting that God created the many animals: rabbits, wolves, foxes, lions, etc. In a little place, called Shavron, near the Cinnamount Mountains, many lived under the blessing of the Holy One. He had placed three judges to rule and provide guidance to the land: Many years had gone by until the time when three new judges were named. Gideon of Eldos, the judge of battle; Deborah of Moran, the judge of instruction; and Samson of Old Sim, the judge of commerce. This is their story.

Gideon was a rabbit and though it seemed strange to have a rabbit as the judge of battle, he always won because he spent time in prayer and allowed the Holy One to win the battle for Shavron. It was good that Gideon was the judge of battle at this time, because there was much to threaten the lives of those who lived in Shavron. For a powerful nation, Chetz, whose citizens were leopards, was about to attack.

Instead of depending upon God, the town’s council and citizens wanted to appoint a new Queen to save them! As soon as they had spoken of this desire, Gideon knew that he needed to talk with the other judges, so he set off to find Deborah. But when he found her, she admitted that she was practically a prisoner herself. What were they going to do?

While Gideon was gone, the two appointed Jezerah as Queen! And she brought along an elder who was called Iya and proclaimed her to be her mother, which was not true. Actually, Iya was a witch with great powers. These two foxes, cunningly moved into Shavron, only to ultimately enslave everybody and demand tax payments to build a large palace and anything else Jezerah desired.

Knowing that the three judges were a danger to their reign, they went out to capture them one by one until all of them were imprisoned in one place or another. Five long years went by until one day, Gideon spoke in prayer to the Holy One and found that it was now time! Time to reclaim Shavron and make it one of God’s blessed places once again! You’ll want to learn how this all occurs!

Sugarwood has created an exciting tale, very loosely patterned around the ancient judges once placed over another holy land. Use of animal characters has allowed the author to emphasize the known animalistic characteristics and use them to advantage as each type of animal plays a role in the story. In one way, in my opinion, it served to lessen the impact of one country against another; one race against another, yet allows the envy, greed, and jealousy to occur. Using a rabbit, so timid and shy, to be the bravest of them all is important as well, as it also emphasized the power of God, the Holy One, in working through the timid creature.

In addition to the thrilling story, the author has included many beautifully created sketches of his characters and is sure to delight and encourage children to become involved with the story. Remember this is a good-over-evil tale, so be sure your child is at the proper ago... This book is a perfect storybook to have in spending quality reading time with your child(ren)!

G. A. Bixler
for Author's Den

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