Our oldest grandchild is not yet old enough to read, but once he does, I hope to give him the Christian answer to Harry Potter, namely, The Greatest King. I'm talking about genres, not level of reading and amount of reading. The Greatest King is a fantasy book that connects an imaginary world to the historical Christ. It's mainly a picture book with short bits of text that make it suitable for readers 6 to 9 years old.
If it's true that children today crave stories about super heroes and imaginary kingdoms with characters larger than life, then this little gem should catch their attention. Listen to this description of the book: "a gargantuan troll-like character with incredible strength, an elfin character with a wizard's touch, an outlandish 'entertainer' for pudgy comic-relief and a young hero in search of something altogether world-changing and spiritually uplifting."
The drawings, which portray multi-racial characters, are exceptionally good - very strong and quite funny. And the writing is economical and to the point. What's more, this comic book gets to the heart of the gospel as it follows a pesky and arrogant little prince in his search for the greatest king.
The prince enters into the presence of god-like creatures, who easily represent idols of our time, except that each one of them acknowledges that there is someone greater than they. That someone is Jesus, whose greatness lies in his willingness to suffer and die for others. By coming finally to the cross on Calvary, the spoiled-brat prince submits and learns the most valuable lesson a future ruler can learn - the secret of humility and real power.
Author and illustrator Jerry Yu Ching and fellow author Mike Onghai are on to something. Although new authors, they're hardly beginners. Ching is a Los Angeles based animator and veteran of Sesame Street spinoff Batibot in the Philippines. Onghai is a magazine co-publisher in New York.
Recommended for Christian school libraries and for book shelves at home.