Saturday, March 14, 2009

Classic Bible Storybook

One common criticism of children's Bibles is they tend to not give a good overall picture of what the Bible is really about; yes, there are many stories in the Bible, but they have a common element running through them: Jesus. Recently, a few children's Bibles have done a good job of correcting this, including The Jesus Storybook Bible and The Big Picture Bible. But before either of those books were published, there were children's Bibles by Kenneth N. Taylor.

Taylor was a prolific children's book author, the translator of

The Living Bible, and founder of Tyndale House Publishers. In his two books Bible Story Book and The Living Bible Storybook (now out of print), he strove to accurately tell Bible stories in brief sections, sometimes explaining how Jesus fit in - even with Old Testament stories. Today, Tyndale combined what they feel are the best of both books to create Classic Bible Storybook.
The first thing you may notice when you pick up this book is that it includes many stories rarely included in children's Bibles, including the story of the original Passover, the story of manna, Job, the first tabernacle and temple, a thorough telling of John the Baptist, a detailed account of how Peter and Andrew became followers of Jesus, a thorough retelling of many of Jesus' parables (including a great recounting of the parable of the seeds), Jesus healing ten lepers, a detailed account of what happened after Christ's resurrection, and a brief retelling of Revelation (which doesn't discuss horrible things happening, but focuses on the glories of Heaven).
As you read, you'll also find mentions of how, for example, Christ took the place of the Old Testament sacrificial lambs and how Jesus fulfilled so many prophesies. Many other unusual details are included, too. Several made me run to my Bible to double check accuracy, such the mention of the type of food Abraham served the angels.
Each story is told in one to two pages, with questions and answers given afterward. Not all stories are illustrated.
What I Like: This is a more thorough recounting than a great many children's Bibles offer. In fact, I'd say it's only one step down from reading the actual Bible to your child. I also love the overall look of this volume. Each page is printed so it looks like antique parchment paper.
What I Dislike: I'm not a huge fan of the illustrations, by Richard and Frances Hook. They are original to Taylor's old books, but come across as dated to me. They often don't show much detail or action, making them of little interest to younger children.
Overall Rating: Very good.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, but my 3-year-old, who has advanced taste in books and "reads" many books for 4- and 5-year-olds, doesn't care for it much. Other 3- and 4-year-olds I test-read to also found the book a bit dull due to the lack of interesting illustrations. I'd say this Bible is most appropriate for kindergartners and children in the early grades.
Publisher Info: Tyndale, 2009; ISBN: 1414307691; hardback; $12.99
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