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A Pilgrim's Progress
on 23 February 2001
An 18th century Christian classic by John Bunyan, born 1628, who was a poor tinker and later a soldier with Cromwell's Parliamentarian army. He married a poor girl whose dowry was two books, 'The Plain Man's Guide to Pathway to Heaven' and 'Practice of Piety'. Reading these books transformed Bunyan's life and he became a lay preacher at a time when it was illegal for the laity to preach in Britain. Whilst in prison for the second time he wrote 'Pilgrim's Progress'.
This version, abridged by Geraldine McCaughrean, won the first Blue Peter overall Book of the Year award (December 2000). It is a highly enjoyable retelling of the story, with some simplifications in language for the younger reader. Some of the names are altered, for example, the most lugubrious 'Slough of Despond' is called 'The Great Bog Misery' - which is good, if not quite the same. And one word, which might be outside the scope of the average young person - 'donjon', the central tower or keep of a castle - sent me to the dictionary, but overall the effect is marvellous. The book is richly illustrated with very good colour and black and white illustrations by Jason Cockcroft. An ideal gift and a great introduction to the full work.