I have really enjoyed the Kindle that the church gave me for Pastor Appreciation Month. It is a terrific gift. I think I actually like reading it better than reading "real books" (physical books- you know, the kind with paper that are all over my study).
One of the things that I have done with the Kindle is download and read some free classic books. Many of these books I've read before. One such book is Swiss Family Robinson. It has been many years since I first read this book, but I remembered that I liked it. I also remember my grandfather telling me that it had been one of his favorite books. My dad has since mentioned that it was a book that he enjoyed. And now my son has begun to read it also- on the Kindle of course. I think he just wanted an excuse to use my new toy.
One of the things that struck me as I read this book for the first time as a parent is how much parenting advice is built right into the story. The book is told from the point of view of a dad who has been marooned on an island with his wife and four sons. Throughout the book he corrects the character flaws of his boys through instruction, and also through carefully assigning work projects to each boy based on areas in which that boy needs improvement.
The author also gives much spiritual teaching. The family constantly recognizes the hand of a gracious God in all that happens to them. They remember to give thanks and to study the Bible regularly.
Much of the teaching of the book involves the physical world. The book talks about how they survived by making use of the plants and animals on the island. It also introduces various geological information as they tour their island and make good use of all that is available to them.
There is a reason that some books stand the test of time and become classics. Perhaps this book has survived because it creatively teaches many lessons in the midst of a compelling story. Most of my reading centers on non-fiction, but this book reminds me of the value fiction can play in communicating truth.