Two girls embark on a modern-day, child’s version of The Pilgrim’s Progress in this debut picture book.
After a beautiful evening church service, DeVonna asks her mother how to get to heaven. Her mom reminds her of her Sunday lessons, but this doesn’t seem to be the answer she needs. The next day, her mom tries again, this time helping the youngster realize that the Bible is a map. To make things clearer, the girl’s mother draws her a map and reminds her to pray for direction. In her nap time dream, DeVonna and her friend Faith follow the document, facing challenges like mocking friends, tempting fruit, and confusing turns before they remember to pray. Although it may chiefly appeal to evangelical readers, this book adapts the ideas of John Bunyan’s classic for a younger audience in a way that feels like an encouraging Sunday school lesson. The cast is predominantly African-American, with some diversity among the girls’ friends. While the cartoonish images by debut illustrator Turner are sometimes odd-looking, DeVonna is expertly drawn and children should easily identify with her through both Watford’s story and the colorful pictures. The text is dense on each page, but the vocabulary is accessible for confident independent readers or for use in Sunday school classrooms.
Aimed at audiences familiar with Christian Scripture and tradition, this tale condenses some difficult concepts into an easily understandable form for younger readers.