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Journey to Joona by Kim Engelmann
This item has closed with no items sold View all items in the bidorbuy category Fiction. View other items offered by Boho Babe Strangely, I don't remember the first time I read the first book Journey to Joona. But I know that I must have checked it out of that library thousands of times. As a kid, I identified with Margaret.
Her problems were my problems and many of her thoughts were like my own. Grafton, felt like real people. The author created the relationships between the characters to be extremely life-like. Those characters weren't just characters. It seemed like they were people in my life.
Joona, being the paradisaical land of the swans, occasionally needs help from children of this world to save it from the dark swan Sebastian. Joona is such a place that the reader, after getting a taste of it, hungrily desires more. Thankfully, the reader is able to experience more of it as the series progresses.
The land of Joona is full of joy, music, pure happiness, laughter, light, colors, mystery and innocent desire to help those who are in need. Joona is a living place with "emotions" and desires. The magnificent and enormous rainbow that covers the sky and has doors to other dimensions begins to fade when Joona feels the pain of the suffering swans on earth and requires more swans to be brought in from earth to Joona to stay alive.
If the rainbow completely fades, Joona dies but when swans come in to the paradise, the rainbow brightens with joy. Joona longs to take away the pain of swans on earth and constantly grows larger to bring in more swans.
This is where Sebastian, the dark swan, comes in. Sebastian's character is written so that it makes sense that he is evil. His motives are ones that a human would think of.
It's very interesting how he tries to close off Joona in each of the books. It creates a completely new adventure every time with varying results. Because it's a children's book, it's easy to assume that the kids will win without sacrifice and that there are no consequences when you fight for justice but that is not the case here. Each book has a different kind of fight, a different set of choices and different outcome. They are fun but serious and a little hard to predict. Last but not least is Laurel. Laurel is the gigantic, ethereal, talking swan who approaches the children and asks for their help.
He is the messenger of Joona and the guide for the swans to travel from earth to Joona. His character is absolutely captivating and as a kid, you can't wait for him to appear. He has strength but is gentle. He is wise but very personable, funny and thoughtful, intelligent and courageous. His heart is large but he never gives in to injustice and never agrees with fear. Laurel is pretty much perfect but not in a unrealistic way. Somehow, when I read the books as a kid, I knew that Laurel represented Jesus but it never truly connected until I reread the series as an adult who loves Jesus and knows Him.
Now, I completely see Him in Laurel. Ironically, I was always drawn to Laurel but back then, people made Jesus out to be an impersonal savior who never approved of anything you did. Which I now know that as false. Laurel is indeed the better representation.
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However, if you are not a Christian, you can still enjoy these books. Jesus is not mentioned, God is not mentioned and I don't think church is mentioned either. So, if you are an atheist, agnostic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. But, like Narnia, Kim V. Engelmann wrote this series and her faith helped shape it. That is the reason why there are themes of mercy and justice, forgiving others, overcoming fear, treating others with respect, being a faithful friend and more. If you aren't sure if this series is good enough to read, take my advice- read it! You won't regret it. And if you have children, they will definitely love it!
My mum bought these for me just shortly after they came out, and to this day I count them as some of my most treasured childhood books. I am looking forward to my nephew getting old enough for me to read them to him, as I don't think any childhood is complete without knowing about Joona! Stumbling upon this Trilogy was what I considered the best find of the year for my children. Since our purchase of it three years ago, we have read it twice as a family and now the children are consuming them independently.
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The three titles in this set, Journey to Joona, Defenders of Joona and The Crown of Joona tell the story of Man, his fall, and his redemption and the Millenial Kingdom through an engaging fantasy centering around a Swan named Laurel. These middle school children learn about the secret land of Joona, swan heaven, where old, sick and dying swans go to experience rest from their trials on earth. The villian is a dark swan named Sebastian, symbolic of Satan. The story unfolds telling us the history of Joona and how Sebastian came to become what he was.
The children are picked by Laurel symbolic of Christ to help open the passage to Joona closed by "you know who. The second book, Defenders of Joona, returns the reader to Joona with more adventures, new characaters and more lessons to learn, insuring stimulating conversations on those abstract and lofty concepts and ideals we try to teach our children in regards to our faith. Finally the trilogy comes to a dramatic crescendo merging all three books into an awesome finale in The Crown of Joona.
Old friends from previous books are skillfully woven in, climaxing into an incredibly exciting and familiar Biblical theme of the Millenial Kingdom, leaving the reader fully satisfied and wanting to come back for more. Of all the books we have read together, none have been as delightful and gratifying as this trilogy.
The fantasy using Biblical precepts and principals lends itself to great family discussions and introspection unlike any other book we have read. Lewis' classic, The Chronicles of Narnia, are rich in content, it is a bit of a stretch for young children to relate to much of the analogies and even more difficult for independent reading.
This series lends itself beautifully in both regards. It is truly Christian Fantasy at it's best.