The Tales from the Back Pew series is written by Mike Thaler, the author of the Black
Lagoon series, and the Heaven and Mirth series. The series includes four books: Preacher
Creature Strikes On Sunday, Mission Trip Impossible, Easter
Egg Haunt, and Church Summer Cramp. The Tales from the Back Pew series is written for 6 - 9 year old children and portrays a humorous "child's eye view" of church and the terms that we use in church.
Each paperback book measures 8 by 8 inches, and is illustrated with cartoon-style artwork by Jared Lee. The author's humor is mirrored in the detailed artwork. There are additional jokes worked into the artwork, along with the exaggerated imaginings of the boy in the story.
Mike Thaler uses puns and riddles in these children's books as he exposes some of the misunderstandings that children can have. Each book begins with a child's misconceptions about church (fears or negative opinions), and then uses humor to unravel the truth. Truths about God are learned in the process, and each book ends with a Bible verse.
Some families will not care for the light-hearted approach to church, and the type of humor involved. The initial attitudes and beliefs about church in each book may be seen as a negative role model. If a child is already prone to negativity regarding church, these books may reinforce that. On the other hand, these books may help a child work through their own misconceptions and change them as the boy in the books does. Parents will need to exercise wisdom regarding which direction their child will go.
I believe these books should be read aloud as a family, so parents can discuss them with their children. Some of the puns may need to be pointed out and explained by the parents. My 13 year old daughter found the puns much funnier than my 8 year old son, who didn't understand many of them.
Overall, we found it a fun series of books at a reasonable price. The
Tales from the Back Pew books are fun and clever, but they would not be at the top of my extensive book wish list.