Wednesday, March 7, 2007

BibleRhymes' Creation

As an author myself, I'm sympathetic toward writers who self publish. To learn how the publishing industry works is a massive undertaking - and that's before all the work it takes to get anyone to look at your manuscript. But this process is like a refiner's fire; frequently, all that hard work makes writers better at their craft. There are far more weak books that are self published than are published traditionally.

That said, BibleRhymes' Creation is one of the better self published books I've seen. With text by Ken McCardell and illustrations by Antonella Chirco, this book attempts to tell the story of creation in a way that kids will remember.

What I Like: The concept is a good one. Instead of just telling what happened on each day of creation, the author delves into what it means when (for example) God creates the skies. Some days, these beautiful skies are sunny, or rainy, or cloudy...and at night, stars (which can be used like a calendar) shine in them. This is a great way to show the vastness and creativity behind our world.

At first, I disliked the illustrations. In the eBook edition, they appear to be computer generated and are a bit flat and lifeless. But they are colorful and sometimes fun (the clouds have faces, for example). As I tried to look at them with a child's eyes, I decided I actually liked them. (My favorite: The image of an oversized hand turning "on" the sun, like a pull-string light.)

What I Dislike: Rhyming text is tough to do well, and McCardell stumbles periodically. It's not that his rhymes are not correct, it's that sometimes he lets finding a rhyme get in the way of storytelling. For example, the book begins:

"In the beginning, God made heaven and earth:
A picture of warmth, His heart like a hearth."

Every time I read this, I have to reread it. And I'm still not sure exactly what the author means. Are heaven and earth "warm," or is God's heart the thing that's "warm?" Or both? Or...? But sometimes the storytelling is better:

"For God, nothing's hard. In a week it was done.
The plan started budding on day number one."

In the end, it may be that the faults of this book will bother parents far more than they bother children.

Overall Rating: (On the lower end of ) Good.

Age Appeal: The book is touted as being suitable for "children of all ages," but infants and young toddlers will have trouble sitting through this rather wordy book.

Publishing Info: BibleRhymes, 2007; ISBN: 0-9790605-0-8; hardback, $17.95; eBook, free.

Buy Now at BibleRhymes for $17.95. The author also tells me the book will soon be available at Amazon.

Special Info: Don't forget that the eBook is free! Download it and see how your child likes it. Also, the eBook mentions that a portion of sales goes toward giving away copies of the book to "children around the world."

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