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Book Review: The Dragonfly Secret: A Story of Boundless Love by Clea and John Adams, Illustrated by Barbara L. Gibson

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When a playful dragonfly named Lea meets a friendly boy they form a fast friendship over the course of several days. When he gives her a secret assignment to complete for him, she gladly accepts. It is only after Lea completes her requested tasks that she discovers that she has been chosen as a messenger from deceased family members (the boy and his grandparents) to a grieving couple (the boys parents).

When The Dragonfly Secret was first released I noticed some favorable reviews of it on the blogs of Christian reviewers who I respect as people, and so it was with an intermingling of excitement over the illustrations hinted at by the cover design, and hesitancy due to the lack of detailed reviews concerning the spiritual aspects of the title that I could find on the internet. I knew that it was written to be a comforting and reassuring story for children about life beyond this short existence here on earth, and that it was written to be applicable to families with a variety of spiritual beliefs (and could possibly work for Christians), but beyond that I was lacking details.

The story is told in a gentle and reassuring manner, no frightening “I see dead people” aspects are found within the text by Clea and John Adams. This is meant to be a comforting story of joy and happiness beyond death, and that feeling is expressed through the bright, sunshiny illustrations of Barbara L. Gibson.

While generally I avoid spoilers in reviews, I feel that this title is an exception. Be forewarned. When parents are scanning children’s titles for the purposes of spiritual discernment, providing details is clearly in order. At the book’s end it is revealed that Lea has been contacted by dead people that she can see and converse with in order to communicate a reassuring message to the loved ones they’ve left behind. Some vague hints such as the spirits looking into the sky seem to hint at a heaven-like afterlife, but no specifics are provided either way.

The main determining factor with this title is whether or not your family believes that dead people can willingly communicate through mediators here on earth with those still living. For our family, I’m very uncomfortable promoting this belief. The only examples we see of this in scripture are Saul calling up Samuel’s spirit by a medium – an act which had serious repercussions for him and his family.

Though I can’t pretend to know everything about the eternal world beyond this one, I do know that the Bible cautions us against seeking out contact with spirits. While the living characters in The Dragonfly Secret don’t do this, I don’t want to develop an appetite for spiritism in my young children.

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