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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

The Big Pig Stampede by Bob Hartman has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the “Goat Boy Chronicles” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Gideon, also known as Goat Boy, is a merchant’s son in Capernaum. He lives with his dad and older brother, Sam, since Mom passed away. He and his friend Bug help their dads in the marketplace and run around together. They start hearing stories about a rabbi who turned water into wine at a wedding. Then they see a huge pile of fish. The old man sitting next to it says his sons caught the fish and then left home to follow the rabbi.

Gideon and Bug soon see the rabbi for themselves. Bug’s cousin’s friend can’t walk, so Bug’s cousin and some others take him to see the rabbi. They can’t get into the crowded home, so Bug and Gideon help tear a hole in the roof. The friend is healed. Gideon gets in trouble, though, because his Uncle Micah sees what he’s done. Micah is a scholar who is curious but skeptical about Jesus.

Gideon and Bug go to the temple with their dads on the dreaded tax day. Bug’s strange cousin, Lump, is with them. Some of the things Lump says are perplexing, and he likes to make sculptures out of clay and animal dung. As they wait in line to pay a tax collector named Levi, they see Jesus.

He invites Levi to come be His disciple, and the tax collector leaves with Jesus. Bug and Gideon’s dads are thrilled they don’t have to pay their taxes. They also get a brilliant business idea. They decide to follow Jesus wherever He goes so they can sell food and other items to the people listening to His preaching.

Gideon, Bug and Lump witness and hear accounts of more miracles. Jesus heals many people, such as a dead boy, a woman with a disease and a man possessed with demons. His healings become more personal to them when He brings two of their friends, a centurion’s servant and a temple official’s daughter, back from the dead.

Even though the boys’ fathers are following Jesus for financial gain, Lump likes the rabbi’s teachings. Gideon isn’t sure what to think about Jesus, but this miracle worker intrigues him. He watches Jesus calm a storm and send demons into a herd of pigs. Gideon brings some loaves and fish to the mountain where Jesus is preaching, only to have it multiplied. The boys’ fathers, who were hoping to sell more bread and fish to the crowds, aren’t very happy with the miracle.

Lump retells Jesus’ story of the good Samaritan. Gideon’s family is taken aback by the idea that a Samaritan can be good. Lump explains how he likes the way Jesus is always doing surprising things that go against what everyone expects. The story ends with Andrew, the disciple, telling the boys how his brother, Peter, walked on water. Gideon still isn’t sure what to make of Jesus. He figures the best way to decide what he thinks is to keep following the rabbi.

Christian Beliefs

The story is a fictionalized account of Jesus’ ministry and miracles, told from the perspective of a young boy watching it all unfold.

Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Gideon’s and Bug’s fathers are merchants. They follow Jesus around in hopes of using His popularity to sell their wares. Gideon’s dad still grieves his wife’s death, which makes it hard for him to watch others being raised from the dead. Uncle Micah is a skeptical religious leader.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Bathroom humor: The story includes several mentions of poo and pee and a handful of discussions about vomiting. A few sketches also depict the vomiting.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 12


Bob Hartman






Record Label



Tyndale, a trademark of Tyndale House Publishers Inc.


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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