Title: The Chimney Sweep’s Ransom
Author: Dave & Neta Jackson
Series: Trailblazer Books
Major Themes: John Wesley, England
Synopsis: After he breaks his arm, Ned comes home to discover that his little brother has been sold as a chimney sweep—will he ever see the little boy again?
I’m not sure how many Trailblazer books we’ve read in the past year, but my boys are not tired of them yet! They still enjoy them. We had read The Chimney Sweep’s Ransom many years ago, but only the older boys remembered snatches of it, so everyone was quite happy to hear the story again when I read it recently.
Thirteen-year-old Ned Carter worked hard every day, driving a mule team to haul coal to the docks of Newcastle, to help keep his family alive. Then one day, he made a small mistake and found himself with a broken arm, unable to work. What would his family do now? He did what he could to help out—and ended up losing his baby sister and bringing home a dog which the family couldn’t afford to feed. What would go wrong next?
What went wrong was catastrophic. Ned came home one day to find his little brother Pip gone. Who had bought the little boy, and where was he? Ned was determined to find him and bring him home. Could John Wesley, the fiery little preacher, help him? Ned found himself working for Wesley, and hoping against hope that he would find Pip and be able to bring him home.
The Chimney Sweep’s Ransom is not only an exciting story, but a vivid introduction to life among the lower classes in 18th century England. The Carter family lived balancing on the brink of disaster all the time. It would take only a very tiny setback for them to lose everything. Reading this book helps children to feel what it would have been to live at that time and place—and see what a difference Jesus could make in people’s lives through John Wesley’s ministry! This is a book that most children should read.
WARNING: In Chapter 8, Ned’s father calls him a blasted fool.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12