Kristin Stiles’ Review of CHARLIE AND THE PRESCHOOL PRODIGAL, by Ginger M. Blomberg

Published on March 13, 2024 by Eugene Ho

Crossway, 2024 | 48 pages

A Book Review from Books At a Glance

by Kristin Stiles


The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were appalled that He would spend time with people who they deemed to be the worst sinners. Jesus told them a story to illustrate how He felt about those people and gave the Pharisees a representative character in the story as well. That parable is what we commonly call “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.” The truths shared with the Pharisees that day are just as applicable today to us and to our children. Ginger Blomberg recasts the parable in a setting with characters that children can relate to.

In Charlie and the Preschool Prodigal, we are introduced to two brothers. Charlie is fastidious. He keeps his room and possessions clean and organized. He likes orderliness and demands it from those around him. Meanwhile, his younger brother, Eddie is described as a wild child. He is messy and loud and epitomizes chaos. One day, Eddie decides to strike out on his own so that he can live without the restraints of self-control. It starts out fine, but soon hunger, thirst, discomfort, and loneliness set in. The final straw is a menacing wasp. Life was truly better back at home. Eddie returns to a welcoming father who is so happy to have his missing son back safe. Charlie isn’t so happy. He doesn’t understand the fuss that’s being made of mischievous Eddie when he himself has been so well behaved and hasn’t received any special recognition. Father has to point out to Charlie that he loves both of his sons and that Charlie is not without sin. We are left with the cliffhanger of finding out how Charlie will respond. Will he relent in his resentment of his younger brother and go out to celebrate with the family or will he stay home and wallow in his self-righteousness?

Ginger Blomberg does a good job of staying true to the message of the original parable. She doesn’t overstep the text by adding all kinds of extraneous detail to our story that would have to be read into the parable. Even the fact that she doesn’t resolve the issue of the older brother parallels the story as Jesus told it. This retelling does a great job of pointing out the central truths of the parable in a way that makes sense to children. 

I really appreciate how this book can be a springboard for having the conversation with a “good” child that s/he is just as lost and in need of salvation as a “wild” child. Many times, the well-behaved children do not see their need for repentance. Using a system of comparative morality, these children evaluate themselves as deserving of eternal life. How pharisaical. As parents, we need to take opportunities to teach our children that God can save the very worst sinner and also the most self-righteous sinner. 


Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.

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Crossway, 2024 | 48 pages

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