"If this book were published by a major publishing house, it would be a New York Times best seller. This book is a must read for all families with young children regardless of your faith or tradition. The engaging story follows the spiritual journey of Stubborn who comes from the town of I-ville where the motto of the townspeople and of their queen, Queen Conceit, is "me first, me first." He has a chance meeting with a young girl, Serenity, who comes from a different place called You-ville. This chance meeting affects Stubborn deeply, and he is amazed that during their initial brief encounter she spent time listening to him and did not talk about herself or how wonderful she is.
He sets out to discover this mysterious place and gets advice along the way from an old man living in a cave (representing the Elder Pasios, a much beloved modern day monk from Mount Athos whose spiritual teachings form the basis for this book). The journey is not an easy one as it requires Stubborn to shrink his ego and fight against bad and selfish thoughts.
As a father of two young children, the lessons here for everyday life are enormous and there are teaching points from each of the wonderfully written chapters. Children are naturally drawn to characters such as Serenity, Humility, Magnanimous, Mr. and Mrs. Kindness; and against the old Stubborn and Queen Conceit. I can now point out to them when they are behaving like Stubborn or like someone from I-ville and the point really hits home.
What else can I say, I loved this book. It is great for the under 10 crowd and for adults (in fact on a recent visit I made to an Orthodox Monastery, the monks had just finished reading it as a group). Most teenagers will probably find the story too childish and the deeper message difficult to grasp, but perhaps I sell them short. Do not hesitate, get this book for your family."
"Truly great children's literature isn't just for children. How many of us relish Tolkien's The Hobbit or Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia? Well, now there's a new, fresh children's story out there for us, and I can sum it up in one word: "delightful." An allegory in the tradition of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Mersine Vigopoulou's From I-ville to You-ville enchants as much as it edifies.
I-ville is a Kingdom ruled by the goddess Conceit, a place where people live by the motto "Me first!" You-ville is a Kingdom ruled by Humility, a place where people put the good of others before their own. This story follows a young boy from I-ville named Stubborn on his journey as he struggles to make the arduous trek to the beautiful, joy-filled You-ville.
In the course of his adventures, Stubborn learns profound lessons in how to conquer bad thoughts and feelings. He learns how to shrink his ego, forgive himself and others, and put others first. He also learns how to pray to and trust in the one true God.
While written by an Orthodox author and based on the teachings of Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, the book will still appeal to Christians of other stripes. In fact, because it isn't even explicitly Christian, it will appeal to folks of almost every major religion. Young or old, we all must take the journey from I-ville to You-ville, and this story is filled with the profound spiritual truths we need to embrace in order to succeed. It's the best-selling Orthodox children's book in Greece, now in its fifth printing, and finally made available in English."
"The other two reviews have done a good job of summarizing the book. I would like to add that our whole family enjoyed this book. This book can be given to any Christian denomination, but has very sound Orthodox teachings. The book is best for those who are five and up. The illustrations in the book are nice. The best thing I can say about the book is that my oldest daughter, who will be eight soon, has been a lot more helpful, nice, and caring towards her sisters. Now THAT'S a GOOD BOOK!"