Timothy Michael Hurst’s The Kinsman’s Tree is built around the biblical creation account set in a fantasy world, but goes its own way by focusing on the minuscule Etom, a race of three-inch-tall little people. The world becomes more engaging as the story unfolds, but suffers from one of great banes of Christian storytelling—main characters whose perfection and niceness are less realistic than any fantasy creature. However, readers will find charm in the everyday life of the Etom boy Nat, his mother Nida, and the other Etom who are part of their Eben’kayah. And the novel succeeds at offering real adventure when our heroes meet opposition in their hunt for the Kinsman, the story’s messiah figure.
Best for: Children who like old cartoons like The Smurfs or The Snorks.
Discern: Battle scenes and some characters’ interactions with evil spirits (with bad consequences).