First of all, each story ends with a two-sentence summary and lesson to take away from the passage. The publisher calls it a "Connection Circle" and explains, "These simple discussion starters help explain why God wants us to know this story and how it connects to a child's daily life." The connection circle at the end of the story of Joshua marching around the walls of Jericho says, "Sometimes God's plans are different from how we would do things. God's plans are good."
Secondly, the selection of stories seems more extensive and well-rounded than many children's Bibles on the market. For example, in the Old Testament, Isaac Digs Wells is included as a lesson on sharing, Esau Forgives retells the story of Jacob and Esau's reconciliation after Isaac steals Esau's blessing, and there are six stories about David instead of the two generally chosen. The best aspect of the New Testament picks is the inclusion of 16 stories after the Ascension of Christ. Readers get a good sense of the early church, a broader view of the lives of Peter and Paul, and of course learn about Heaven and telling others about Jesus.
Third, the Bible uses footnotes to explain things such as Passover, the Ark of the Covenant, and anointing.
The Bible also has 24 fun stickers at the back for children to use to mark favorite stories, "I heard this in Sunday School," "I read this with my Grandma," and so on.
What I Like: I really like the connection circles. They are well-written, theologically sound, and help parents and other adults relate the Bible to a child's life. I would pick God's Story for Me over any other Bible for this age range, simply to have the connection circles. The lessons in some stories are obvious, but for other stories, I, as a mom, appreciate having help. The story of Gideon and the Midianites ends with, "God cares for us. He will help us know what to do when people are mean to us." After Jesus' resurrection, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him and tells Peter to feed his sheep three times. The publishers explain Peter had said he didn't know Jesus but then was sorry. The connection circle says, "Jesus never stops loving us, even when we do wrong. He will help us obey."
I also like the way the publishers point to Jesus even from the beginning of the Old Testament. After Adam and Eve hid from God, we see a picture of Jesus and read, "But God never stopped loving them. God gave them a happy promise: Someone would come to make things right again."
What I Dislike: The publishers use exclamation points and capital letters in a somewhat capricious style. This was distracting as I was reading aloud, and made the reading more choppy. For example, part of the story Friends Help a Lame Man is written, "The house had stairs up to the flat roof! The men carried their friend up the stairs. They broke and pulled and tore to make a big HOLE in the ROOF! Then the four carefully LOWERED their friend on his mat right through that hole!" Though annoying, I think you would get used to the style after repeated readings.
Overall Rating: Very Good
Age Appeal: 2-5, but my 8-year-old still enjoys it.
Publisher Info: Gospel Light, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-8307-4812-9 ; Hardcover, $16.99
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