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Wise Words: Family Stories That Bring the Proverbs to Life
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Wise Words: Family Stories That Bring the Proverbs to Life

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  169 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
In the tradition of Grimm's fairytales, Peter Leithart has produced a wonderful collection of whimsical, yet meaningful, bedtime stories. The characters in each story are as varied as the biblical proverbs they reveal. Meet a chatty squirrel with a secret, or find out what happens when you run up against the Ministry of Nasty Smells. Sure to delight children ages five and ...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published December 1st 1995 by Holly Hall Publications (first published 1995)
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Jan 14, 2016 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-eli
This book is a collection of 18 stories. Each is an allegory for one or more events in the Bible. Each use descriptions that are similar in language to the Bible. Each has a Proverb which it cites as the moral of the story. The book is best when the parent interacts with the kid asking different questions and helps them to understand some of the simpler allegories.

I enjoyed most of the stories, but some attempted to "weave in" a few too many allegories within a single story. The moral of the sto
Valerie Kyriosity
I've read it once and listened to it several times. The only stories in the world that rival Narnia in my affections. Every one is simply beautiful. If only Dr. Leithart wrote all his books as stories!


Listened to again January 2013. I reset the finish date so I can count it for this year. Last year's book total was so pitiful...I'm determined to at least exceed it in quantity!
Matt Carpenter
Jan 22, 2014 Matt Carpenter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a delight for our entire family to read. The stories build from the book of Proverbs and include quite a bit of biblical imagery throughout. It's great for family devotions and not only for children. I can't think of a better recommendation than that of my three-year old: "Daddy, these stories are really appetizing me."
Dan Glover
Jan 06, 2016 Dan Glover rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2x through. I've read this book of Proverbs-based children's short stories before and loved it. In 2015, I read it to my 4 children (aged 4-11) and they all loved it as well. Each story is a triple-layered delight, illustrating a wisdom concept from the Proverbs, often by using the pieces or else the kernel of one of Jesus' parables, and all told in a Grimmesque fairy tale format. These are a delight for children and parents alike.
Havebooks Willread
May 26, 2016 Havebooks Willread rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Havebooks by: Carrie
This is a book of "family stories that bring the Proverbs to Life." The children loved it and the reason it took so long to finish it was because they kept wanting to go back and read one of the stories we had read previously instead of going on to a new one. :)

Alan and I liked the book for the most part, but some of the stories were better than others and a couple had some Calvinist undertones that we edited while reading aloud.
Gwen Burrow
Jun 15, 2009 Gwen Burrow rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Yet another book my dad read aloud when I was young. I still remember meeting Dr. Leithart afterwards and thinking, "Authors are real people."
Adam Ross
Nov 15, 2009 Adam Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I have the third edition with the new cover. The book is a wonderful collection of short fairy tales for children based out of the book of Proverbs. As a matter of whimsy, I enjoyed that each story ended like Aesop's Fables with a moral that was a verse out of Proverbs. But the stories are often full of profound insight beyond the key Proverb being illustrated. There is always a Christ-figure in each story, many of which are very clever. Some, like "The Monster's House" actually subvert the fair ...more
Dec 15, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These 18 stories have been delightful as I've read them for the girls at bedtime. For those with biblical literacy there are allusions woven throughout which make it all the more enjoyable. However, knowledge of the Bible isn't a prerequisite as each story stands on it's own and is based off of a Proverb, listed as the moral at the end of each chapter. We loved the book and highly recommend it though it's probably more appropriate for 7-10 year olds since there are some themes that might be a li ...more
Most of these stories turn out pretty fun. There were a couple as another review said that were "wobbly" but still spot on. We read this to our girls (5,3,2) -- there is something for all ages there. For my two year old it's learning to sit still during that time. :) This will be a book we read again and again because there will always be something to gain from it. And it will be fun to watch when my girls really clue in to some of the humor aspects that are interject for the grown-up crowd. HA!
Jan 03, 2014 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Leithart accomplishes what many of us fathers try to do at family worship with little ones. He presents biblical principles in short story format which all of my children loved (as well as their parents). The favorite of our family is the story of fairies and walnuts. If you are new to doing family worship with little ones, then I would recommend starting with this book and then read the Bible verse that corresponds to the story.
This little book of separate chapter stories was quite well received in my house! Not only do they work a Proverb in as a focus of each story, but many other "classic Bible stories" are woven throughout, including a lovely picture of the gospel in the last story. While the writing is not at the level of a true classic, my children enjoyed the stories very much, and many of them prompted some great discussions!
Apr 28, 2012 Tirzah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I first read this book when I was 14. I think I read it twice in one year it was that good. It was not only entertaining but also taught me how to be a more Godly person. Recommend it especially to kids but also to adults! It's perfect for family storytime/devotions. Note: I met Leithart and heard him speak at a conference, plus played soccer with him! :)
May 17, 2016 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book to my 5 and 6 year old kids and they enjoyed it a lot. Some stories were light and funny, others rather grim (much like the book of Proverbs, upon which it's based). I loved the Biblical images woven in to the stories and found many of them quite moving. This will be a good book for us to re-read together every year or two.
Each story does illustrate the proverb that Dr. Leithart labels as the moral at the end of the story, but he draws on so many parts of scripture for each, as well as the literary devices of the great fairy tale tellers. He sparks the imagination, but I would love to see a fine illustrator's interpretation of a few of these tales.
May 14, 2013 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very simple stories. Some were amazingly beautiful, and some of them smelled like they came straight from the Fractured Fairy Tale Factory (e.g. this has got to be the only fairy tale where a dragon succumbs to his fate after a copy of St. Augustine is inflicted upon him!) Perhaps simple wasn't the word to describe it, but ah well.
Sep 21, 2009 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, children
Leithart writes so that the story is entertaining to children and yet instructional to them as well. It is also one of those books that reaches the adult as well, reminding us of our need to make application of Proverbs. It speaks simply and succinctly on many levels and therefore was a joy to read to the children.
Robert Murphy
Sep 19, 2011 Robert Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, wish-list
Elanor very much enjoyed these short chapters every dinner every night for the last few weeks. (She's five and a half). One was a little bit gory and a couple were not clear enough, but a very good book none the less. Highly recommended for family devotional material.
Jan 27, 2010 Andre marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is the next read aloud for the Fowlkes Family. A'nia, my beautiful, has already read one of the stories and thoroughly enjoyed. From the sound of her enthusiasm it sounds like she can't wait for me to finish up the Magician's Nephew so we can start Wise Words...
Steve Hemmeke
Sep 14, 2011 Steve Hemmeke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best children's books out there.
Peter Leithart does a unique thing in this book. He relates Scriptural stories, proverbs or truths by telling simple fairy tales. Highly recommended for the reader to experience the narrative dimension of truth.
Thomas Kidd
Mar 05, 2015 Thomas Kidd rated it it was amazing
What a great bedtime read-aloud for the children. Every story leaves the children (and father) wanting more. Every story provides profound teaching opportunities not only as to the wisdom of Proverbs, but as to the truly wise one, Christ!
Peter N.
Aug 13, 2010 Peter N. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book with stories that elaborate on the Proverbs that also tie in with other biblical themes. One story is a bit spicy as it tells the story of man seduced by a harlot. It is still kid friendly, but probably for older children.
Eric Chappell
Dec 30, 2013 Eric Chappell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reading
A fabulous little book. Leithart does a wonderful job interweaving Wisdom motifs and redemptive themes through a number of fairy tales. This would be a great resource for parents to use in tandem with Proverbs.
Douglas Hayes
This is by far my favorite children's story book. Every Christian parent should read these short stories to their children at least once. My children loved them!
Douglas Wilson
Nov 22, 2010 Douglas Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Peter did a good job with this. Enjoyed it. A couple of them kind of wobbled, but most did just what stories should do -- make you want to know what happened next.
Emily Hazewinkel
Feb 08, 2012 Emily Hazewinkel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kid-picks
I loved reading this book to the kids and discussing the morals which followed each story. Good descriptive stories that were enjoyed by kids of all ages.
Aug 22, 2012 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you didn't already realize it, fairy tales are ideal for learning how to read wisdom literature. I look forward to reading these to our kids.
First read Jan 26, 2009. Now read out loud to the kids. They enjoyed very much. Fun stuff; creative with a great message.
Susan Low
Jul 09, 2009 Susan Low rated it it was amazing
This book has been read several times in our family. Highly recommend this especially as a family read-aloud.
Doug Newell
May 12, 2012 Doug Newell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had a good time with this book reading after dinner. A lot of laughs and a lot of discussion after.
Benjamin Alexander
Beautiful examples of biblical theology in action through simple children's stories with moral lessons.
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Peter Leithart received an A.B. in English and History from Hillsdale College in 1981, and a Master of Arts in Religion and a Master of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1986 and 1987. In 1998 he received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England. He has served in two pastorates: He was pastor of Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church (now Trinity Presbyter ...more
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