The Spindles books by Barry Chant are a series of books with a gospel message in the form of unique parables set in the outback of Australia. Spindles and his animal friends are involved in many exciting situations and the author uses these to explain Biblical truths and make them plain to children. They were written for 8 year olds and up to read for themselves but they also make good read alouds for younger children. I’ve put them here in the order they were written in although they may be used as stand alones.
In Spindles and the Wombat, Spindles (who lives on an outback station and does his lessons by correspondence) attaches himself to a highschool group from the city on an excursion looking at fossils. He gets talking to one of the students who mentions fossils and hears one of the teachers answering questions from the students on evolution and how life began.
‘That sounds a bit far-fetched!’ said Spindlesout aloud without realising it. “I thought God created everything.”
There was an outburst of laughter from all around him…Spindle blushed a bright pink, turned and ran off, the laughter still stinging and shaming him.
Later, he sat at the foot of the Redgum tree, and tried to work things out. How did those fossils get here….?
…Spindles was really confused and upset.’
Spindles’ wise old friend, the great eucalyptus tree Redgum, advises Spindles to find out what it was that made him so unique and different from everyone else and so a study of DNA gets underway with the help of his various animal friends.
‘And Spindles remembered all that had happened over the last few days. He thought about the magpie’s nest – and – genes – and little joeys – and the possibilities of all this happening by chance…
He thought about the alternatives. A few microbes just happening to find life in the primeval ooze of a shapeless world. Or the all-wise, all-loving, all-knowing Creator, infusing His own qualities into the creature that He made – and forming him in His own image!
Somehow, he liked that better!’
In Spindles and the Crocodile, Spindles and Freckles (an orphan who lives with Spindles’ family) find a rare bird, meet a Tasmanian tiger, trap a dingo and Spindles falls down a mine shaft and learns about God’s faithfulness.
All of our children have enjoyed reading these books at around age 8 to 10 years. For non-Aussie readers these books are an interesting way to introduce children to the unique Australian wildlife and outback. A helpful glossary is provided in the back of the first six books with short explanations of Australian idioms and animals; average length of books – about 130 pages.
‘What a pity that our education system often tends to restrict, rather than foster the delightful God-given imaginative creativity that most children have!’ Barry Chant