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Tom Playfair, Or Making A Start is a part of a wonderful trilogy of books that we happily discovered at Holy Heroes, Father Finn's Famous Three: Tom Playfair Series.
Our oldest received these books as a gift some time ago, but found them a bit too challenging to read on his own. So, I have begun reading through the trilogy with the kids together. What a delight!
Humor. Virtues. Adventure. Faith. Exquisite vocabulary. Engaging characters. They are all there and more.
The kids' giggles as Tom deals with bullies or gets himself into or out of predicaments are precious! They all loved the chapter where Tom outsmarted a bully who was going to put a "kick me" sign on his back.
I have loved how Tom is so real, and how he transforms from being a "handful" to a fellow with increasing virtues. In fact, I have found that, since beginning this trilogy, examples of how Tom and his boarding school companions demonstrated vice or virtues have woven themselves into countless conversations with my children. I just love when characters and their choices come alive and become "friends" we can look to for guidance.
And adventure? It's definitely there - both everyday and extraordinary... fun and, well, fatal. (Warning: In one chapter some boys die from electrocution after a lightning storm.) Happy or harrowing, all of the escapades of Tom Playfair keep my kids (and a friend who joined us in a tent for bedtime stories at a campout) completely engaged!
As for faith - wow! - how great is it to read a novel that includes Catholic faith and examples. We read secular, Christian and Catholic books here, but, have not typically found well-written, engaging Catholic fiction for kids before this. Now, we have and I am delighted.
I can also say that the story is written in such a way that non-Catholics can appreciate it, too. Strong characters and plot can appeal to any child, of say 8-14 years, and seems particularly riveting to boys. Vocabulary that sometimes has me learning new words makes the book a bonus for parents, too!
Honestly, we are so delighted to have been introduced to Tom Playfair and want to share about the not-as-well-known read aloud trilogy that he is featured in so you can delight in it, too. Nina and Luke have been saying how they want to buy some of their friends copies of the Tom Playfair series. With reasonable prices at Holy Heroes and current prices at Amazon as low as a penny for used copies, under $2 for Kindle copies and around $10 for new paperbacks, I think they'll be able to afford to do so.
Have you read Fr. Finn's fabulous fiction before? What did you think Do you have other great read alouds to recommend - especially ones that contain strong examples of faith and virtue?