Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele
Fame, Fortune or Power: Which would you choose if you could have only one?
Lords and brothers Fame, Fortune and Power decide how well all people will fare in life in the namesake realms of human desire they control. When they deem a woeful babe abandoned in a barn unworthy of any of their favors, the child grows up the lackey of a cruel farmer and his tormenting spoiled children. When he is old enough Boy, for that is the name used for him, runs away with the only friends he has ever known — the equally abused and unnamed Sheep, Cow and Horse — to seek a better life.
Years later, a quarrel among Fame, Fortune and Power over whose blessing is the greatest sends them, and their court jester Nobody, on a quest to find an unsullied party to settle their dispute. Boy seems the perfect candidate, but his unconventional views on what is valuable in life incite the lords and bring him to the brink of doom. Will he live? What happens to the lords? And is Boy right or does one of the lords’ blessings outshine the others? The future of mankind depends on the answer. (Goodreads)
The Greatest Blessings, a children’s chapter book targeted at ages 6 through 12, is a moral tale told in classic fairytale style. It relates the story of three brother Lords who determine who in the land is blessed with fame, fortune, and/or power. Every baby, on his/her first birthday, is presented to them. We follow Boy, a foundling who has nothing going for him – he was not graced with any of the brothers’ favors – as he matures and befriends the other outcasts on the farm, known only as Sheep, Horse, and Cow. He runs away from the farm at age thirteen, taking his friends with him, and settles into a quiet, contented life. The Lords, with not much to keep them occupied, become bored and quarrel about whose bequest is the greatest. To settle the dispute, they set out to find an impartial party, one who has not been influenced by his “blessing” from the Lords, and find the perfect judge in a now eighteen year old Boy. Boy denies each of their offerings telling Fortune that nothing is worth more than the love of a family (he considers Sheep, Horse, and Cow his family), Fame that he would rather have his few friends that all of the notoriety in the world, and Power that fellowship and equality are more important than having authority and control over everyone. Instead of killing Boy, they take his words to heart and together change the world.
I found the language to be a bit stilted in the beginning but quickly became accustomed to the cadence and style. I do think that younger readers may struggle a bit with the language but would probably be fine when it is read aloud to them. It is full of colorful, eye catching illustrations that aid in the telling of the story and help keep young readers’ attention. In a world that is increasingly caught up in celebrity, wealth, and influence, this provides a timely reminder of the true importance of family, friends, and fellowship for the greater good.