Francy the fearful fire-fly

Tia Zheng

Francy the fearful firefly is a Christian children's short story by Jen Anderson. The associated website reports that this book has delighted young audiences in several southern Sydney schools and churches, and been well-received by local children in Indonesia and Burma (Myanmar).

Francy is a fictional character with some very real fears that children may well relate to. Because of her small size she is afraid of being hurt by others much larger than herself. Though able to produce her own light, she still fears the dark.

As the story progresses, Francy learns to trust God despite her fears, and also learns how David defeated Goliath (1 Samuel 17) because he trusted in God's strength and power. Within the narrative an attempt is made to show how this 1 Samuel passage has implications, not only for fictional Francy, but also for her audience.

So far, so good - and yet I feel the book has one significant weakness.

My background is in Religious Studies teaching in an Anglican school, and in weekly Sunday School teaching. As a result, I have come to believe that, when helping children understand how Bible passages apply in their lives, we should also somehow be pointing them directly back to Jesus Christ. After all, David was God's chosen king, and Jesus (descended from David) is still God's chosen king. Understanding the perfect sacrifice of Jesus in His death for us and the equally perfect love behind it - this is what truly casts out all our fear today.

Yet, apart from a final short prayer of thanksgiving by Francy towards the end of the narrative, there seems no obvious link between David and Christ Jesus in Francy's story.

In light of this perceived shortcoming, I would probably not hurry into sharing this book with my Year 1 and 2 Sunday School class. Other Christian teachers and parents, however, may find it a helpful children's literature resource. I would recommend that where you have access to a copy, browse it and decide whether you might be able to use it with your children.