Author: George McDonald, edited by Michael R. Phillips
Illustrator: Cover Art by Dan Thornberg
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Audience: Ages 12 and up
Summary: This is the story of a young boy, Gibbie Galbraith, unable to speak but who lived a life of innocent love, goodness, and truth. After his titled but penniless father’s death, “wee Sir Gibbie” witnesses a violent murder and flees the city. Gibbie, an orphan now with nowhere to go remembers his father’s many drunken mumblings of “up Daurside” and so heads up the River Daur to the Scottish Highlands. Here he manages to find friendship and love in the midst of a simple country family. Eventually his life leads him back to the city and to places he never could have imagined.
We read as Gibbie – a young boy with no advantages as this world counts them – grows to manhood. Yet in seeking goodness, Gibbie discovers that doing right, as God counts right, is the best reward of all.
Literary elements at work in the story: This is a tender love story (on many levels) from one of Scotland’s best storytellers. George MacDonald is the master when it comes to communicating the all-present love of God through the beauty and power of Nature. Because MacDonald firmly believed that life’s deepest insights were found in everyday relationships and ordinary contacts with the world, this book is filled with commonplace lives in a simple agrarian world.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability: Gibbie is not your typical lead character in a novel. We first meet him as a scrawny child of eight, the city’s urchin. What’s more he’s a mute. Even orphaned, homeless and penniless, his greatest joy lies in helping others. As he grows to manhood and comes into an unexpected inheritance, Sir Gibbie remains untouched by greed and lust for power.
Scripture: Micah 6:8; Psalm 34:13-14
Theology: The Baronet’s Song shows us that the salvific work of Christ is available to all, even those ignorant of the notion of salvation. God loves us just as He finds us, but God loves us too much to leave us that way.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Do you think it’s possible for a person to be as good and kind as Gibbie? Do you know anyone who puts your happiness and wellbeing above their own? Someone who makes sacrifices for your sake? How does this reflect a Christ-like love?
- Gibbie is a loving and giving person even without the benefit of a “conversion experience.” What does this say to you about the way God acts in our lives? How did God use the events of Gibbie’s life to draw him into relationship with Christ?
- Life in the Scottish Highlands at the turn of the 20th century was not an easy one. Traveling to church regularly from the untamed mountain of Glashgar would have been impossible. Given that, in what ways to do you see a worshipping community of faith portrayed by these simple shepherding folk?
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Kelly Hames
Filed under: Book Reviews, Books written for Grades 5-8 (Ages 10 -13), Books written for Grades 9 - 12 (Ages 14-17), Faith Questions For...., High School Students, Middle Schoolers, Older Elementary Tagged: | children, Community, Growth, love, money, mute, Nature