Sunday, March 15, 2009
For those who love VeggieTales, the idea of a true Bible (in this case, the New International Version) with a VeggieTales theme is exciting. But The VeggieTales Bible turns out to be a mixed bag.
Let's start with the good. The introductions to the Old and New Testament, and the introductions to the various books in them, are terrific. They explain who wrote the book (My 3-year-old was thrilled to learn that Moses - yes, Moses! - wrote the book of Genesis.), a quick run down of what the book teaches, a list of famous people written about in the book, and other pertinent information. Throughout the books, you'll also find sidebars with hints about good memory verses and very short commentaries about topics like sharing, forgiveness, and God's great love. Within these introductions and sidebars are pictures of favorite VeggieTales characters in black and white (actually, in blue and white...more on that later).
There are also a number of full color comic book style pages with familiar VeggieTales Bible-based stories scattered throughout: "The Ballad of Little Joe" (the story of Joseph and his brothers), "Babysitter in DeNile" (baby Moses), "Dave and the Giant Pickle" (David and Goliath), "Esther, the Girl Who Became Queen," "Rack, Shack, and Benny" (the fiery furnace), "The Story of Jonah," "An Easter Carol," and "The Story of Flibber-o-loo" (the Good Samaritan). In the back of the Bible, there's an "Index to Veggie Values," with common topics like "Don't be selfish" and "Help others," plus a dictionary-concordance.
What I Like: The ultra short sidebars are handy, and the index is extremely helpful to parents who want to take advantage of teachable moments. The comic book pages are vivid and interesting and latch firmly on to the VeggieTales style. It's also great that this is the NIV version of the Bible, one of the most easy-to-read translations.
What I Dislike: My biggest gripe is that everything is printed in blue ink, often making it difficult to read. Some print is so light blue (such as in the memory verse sidebars), it's a great struggle to read. (If you look at excerpts of this Bible at ChristianBook.com or Amazon.com, note that the scanned pages are darker than the actual printed Bible.) The text is also small (this is a full length NIV Bible after all), so you shouldn't expect early readers to have an easy time of it. The illustrations are sometimes few and far between - a feature suitable for older children, but not engaging enough for many of the younger children attracted to VeggieTales. Some will also complain that the full color comic book pages are not near the Bible stories they are based on. This, undoubtedly, has to do with the printing and binding process, and I do appreciate that each comic book story ends with Bible citations so readers can find the real version of the story more easily.
Overall, I think younger kids (and those who can't stop wiggling when you read un-illustrated stories to them) will enjoy something like The VeggieTales Bible Storybook
far better. But for older kids who still love VeggieTales, or for younger kids who are great listeners, this may be a good first full-length translation Bible. I only hope that if the publisher reprints The VeggieTales Bible, they'll use black ink for the text.
Overall Rating: Good.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, but many younger children may find this Bible dull because it doesn't have enough illustrations and the illustrations are often in a light blue and white.
Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2009; ISBN: 0310718287; hardback; $24.99
Buy it Now from ChristianBook.com for $10.99,
OR buy it from Amazon.com for $16.49