Saturday, November 7, 2009

God's Story for Me Bible Storybook

If you are looking for a children's Bible to entertain toddlers and still teach truths about God's love to preschool and grade school children, look no further. God's Story for Me Bible Storybook by Gospel Light Publishing, is like a Life Application Bible for the tiniest readers (or listeners). While presented in typical children's Bible fashion with bright, eye-catching illustrations, and 104 various stories from the Old and New Testament, God's Story for Me is different in a couple of important ways.

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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MommyLydia said...

Thank you for reviewing this book! I picked it up recently for my two year old, but have been looking around, making sure there was nothing "hidden" that would make regret it. I bought the Baby Bible Storybook by Robin Corrie for him as an infant and it has been a disappointment. And yours was the first very good review(not the first review to think it was very good. But the first substantive review period)

Things that really drew me to this bible:
The number of stories covered. It seems to be a wider swath of the Bible than usual.

REFERENCES. Each story has references for where the story is found in a real bible. So we can go there to confirm details and see exactly what the Bible says

Good amount of verbiage per page -- about 4 lines. My son won't sit still for much more. And the stories are a good length for bedtime reading -- usually 4 pages. Never just one or two.

I hadn't even noticed the circles applying to the story! Thanks.

They do leave parts of the story out -- for example, they have Esau's forgiveness, but completely leave out the entire time Jacob spends at Laban's, gaining two wives and a whole passel of children. But I'm pretty happy with what I have seen of it regardless.

Erin said...

I am glad the review was helpful, and I hope you enjoy your bedtime reading! My kids like to read before bed too. Erin