Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Johnny and the Seven Teddy Bears of Sin

Johnny Meryevan has been left in his elderly grandfather's household in Victorian London. To terrify the little boy into quiet behavior, his grandfather warns Johnny about the Seven Teddy Bears of Sin. His plan backfires. Johnny sets out to defeat these terrifying monsters, and the teddy bears are only too pleased to take up the challenge.

The results? A comic romp through the serious business of childhood: governesses, cakes, cabs, toast, tea, goldfish, nutcrackers, attics, bordellos, bears and temptations abounding.

The definitive update of medieval morality verse.

*May Contain Spoilers*

A poetic novella that teaches the pitfalls of the seven deadly sins, Johnny and the Seven Teddy Bears of Sin, by James Venn, gives child-like (and adult understanding) situational examples of unvirtuous behavior. Written completely in rhyme, the book seems to be aimed at middle aged children as a tool for teaching children about different types of sins and how to overcome them.

Johnny is the main character who begins an adventure to defeat the seven teddy bears of sin that his grandfather tells him about. As he faces greed, lust, gluttony, envy, sloth, wrath, and pride readers will see his  courageous behavior and imaginative nature. I think the middle aged youth will be able to connect with Johnny based on how he wishes to escape from his grandfather, he isn't considered to be mature enough to understand certain things, and he still has childlike tendencies in a world where children grow up so fast. 

The story line is told in a very linear way. Johnny faces each of the teddy bears in turn, defeating them but still making mistakes along the way. The idea that mistakes won't stop you from living virtuously is a great lesson for everyone. It also includes four attributes that help overcome negative temptations: mercy, judgement, truthful, and peaceful. Overall, the rhyming scheme coupled with the positive message make this poetic novella a good book to put on the TBR of the younger generation, with adult consideration, of course. 

Rating: 3.5/5 Cups

1 comment: