Nancy Brown's The Father Brown Reader is a delightful book. I'm not usually an advocate of condensed or abridged books, so why am I so enthusiastic about this? Because I think it's an excellent introduction to Chesterton for children, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, too.
I have to admit that I haven't read the original Fr. Brown mysteries, as I'm not much of a mystery buff (though the fact that Chesterton wrote them has always had me curious about them.)
But, my kids do enjoy mysteries, and this was no exception.
We read it together (we love our read-alouds) and the girls truly enjoyed the intrigue and the subtle humor. Even Ramona was paying attention and remarked on what a silly club those gentlemen had (you'll have to read the book to find out what I mean.)
And, there are lovely talking points about the faith, such as this remark from Fr. Brown (after revealing that he knew someone was not what he said he was) : "You attacked reason," said Fr. Brown. "It's bad theology." Now there's some fodder for conversation with the kids.
And (in case you're wondering) not one of the stories is a murder mystery, so they're appropriate for the younger set as well as for your older kids.
And congratulations, Nancy, on bringing Chesterton to a whole new audience!