________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 15 . . . . March 20, 2009

cover Milton's Secret: An Adventure of Discovery through Then, When and the Power of Now.

Eckhart Tolle & Robert S. Friedman. Illustrated by Frank Riccio.
Vancouver, BC: Namaste, 2008.
40 pp., hardcover, $20.95.
ISBN 978-1-57174-577-4.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Christina Neigel.

**½ /4


"Grandpa showed you the outside of the Now. And this shows you the inside."

"The inside of the Now," asks Milton.

"Yes, when you feel the light inside your body, you are in the Now. And you're not scared anymore. The light helps you feel strong."

"Really," says Milton. "That's great."

"And now that you know what it's like, you can feel the light inside you whenever you want to."

"Oh, that's double great!" exclaims Milton.

"Let's keep the inside of the Now a secret just between the two of us, okay? Most people are not ready to understand this."

"No problem," Milton replies.

internal art

Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman have co-authored numerous self-help works for adults that explore the importance of "living in the now." Milton's Secret is a carefully designed parable meant to appeal to younger audiences that focuses on this notion of the "Now."

     Milton is an ordinary boy of about eight or nine years of age who seems to be randomly picked on by another boy at school. Milton takes this boy's threats to heart and becomes sad and consumed by fear. However, through the advice of his grandfather and a woman who appears in one of Milton's dreams, he discovers how to visualize all living things as carrying a light within them that assists Milton in transcending his fear.

     This work is an interesting one because it is attempting to convey a very spiritual concept to children. Although the context of the story is a realistic one (a boy being teased at school and his ensuing fears), it has a hollow ring in its telling. This could be attributed to the somewhat didactic tone of the text. The realistic and colourful illustrations vary from full page spreads to smaller vignettes that work well with the story. Indeed, the illustrations are better crafted than the text.

     Milton's Secret may have merit in collections that are attempting to round out their spiritual sections, as there is little being published that effectively deals with such alternative views of spirituality. Certainly, the book presents a vehicle for discussion, but its didactic nature, common to parables, may have limited appeal.

Recommended with reservations.

Christina Neigel is the program head for the Library and Information Technology Program at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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