The Ten Commandments are a difficult subject to cover for young children because some of the commandments deal directly with adult issues like adultery and murder. But Nolan does a superb job explaining such issues without becoming explicit. For example, with the sixth commandment, Nobel writes about Cain and Abel:
"Cain became so angry that he sinned by hitting his brother and killing him...Hating, or having bad feelings about someone, is the first step toward wanting to hurt or get back at them..."
For the seventh commandment, she writes:
"When a man and a woman get married, they promise to only love each other, and not to love anyone else in that same special way. Joseph worked for a married man. The man's wife wanted to love Joseph the way she loved her husband, but Joseph said, 'No!' and ran away. You should run away from people who want you to break your promises to God and to others."
In fact, Nolan touches upon a Bible story each time she writes about another commandment, but never fails to shed light on how the commandments fit into a child's everyday life, also.
In addition, she offers an introduction, explaining how the Ten Commandments came about, plus a page of questions to help children "dig deeper" into the meaning of the Ten Commandments, scripture references, a note to parents and teachers, and a two page glossary of terms (like "blessing" and "idol") that might not be familiar to children.
What I Like: Everything! Nolan does a superb job making the Ten Commandments understandable and applicable to children. This is the best picture book I've read on this topic, and I can't recommend it highly enough. The illustrations by Janet Samuel are a terrific addition to the book, showing children of many ethnicities, plus Bible characters, in colorful, cute drawings.
What I Dislike: Not a thing.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 4 - 8
Publisher Info: Harvest House, 2009; ISBN: 0736925457; hardback; $14.99
Special Info: Read more of our reviews of Allie Zobel Nolan's books.