Halfway Herbert and The Big Red Tractor are
two marvelous children's books by author Francis Chan. These picture
books (recommended for ages 4 to 8) focus on what it means to live
as a Christian.
In Halfway Herbert, Herbert is a little boy who does
everything halfway. He does half his homework, eats half his meals,
and even brushes only half his teeth. Things start to unravel for
Herbert when he ties only one shoe. The laces from the untied shoe
get caught in his bike wheel, and he crashes into his Dad's car.
When questioned, Herbert tells a half-truth. When his father finds
out, he uses the opportunity to challenge Herbert on the half way
he's been living his life. Herbert's Dad points out that the Bible
tells us we're to love God with our whole hearts, and he explains
the Spirit will help Herbert do things the whole way. Herbert takes
this message to heart and is much happier.
The Big Red Tractor is about a small village and their
love for their red tractor. After all, it helps them farm and produce
food to live off. However, they've never read the manual, and the
villagers work hard for weeks and push the heavy tractor through
the fields (instead of turning it on). One day, Farmer Dave finds
the owner's manual, reads it, and uses what he learns to fix the
tractor (even though the other villagers don't believe him). When
he's able to plow the fields in one night, the villagers realize
that what Farmer Dave read is true. They are able to plow many
fields and share all the extra food with those in need. At the
end of the story, Francis Chan points out that God knows how we
work best, and the Bible is full of truths that will help us live
the life He created us for.
I left these books out on the coffee table. All five of my sons
(ages 11, 10, 8, 6, and 5) picked up the books on their own, and
the older four told me how much they enjoyed the stories. (My 5-year-old
looked at them, but he's not a reader yet.) The illustrations are
engaging, and the font is pleasing to the eye. Halfway Herbert and The
Big Red Tractor present big truths in a charming, memorable
way, and I would highly recommend both books.