Monday, February 8, 2010

Chronicles of Faith: Joseph

Part of the Chronicles of Faith series, Joseph was written by Rex Williams and illustrated by Al Bohl. Using a chapter book format, this book re-tells the life of the title character, from his first prophetic dream to his burial in the Promised Land.

Readers follow Joseph and his brothers through their sibling rivalries and feuds. Joseph's brothers sell him into slavery then face the immense grief of their father. Joseph, meanwhile, rises to a respected position in Potiphar's household. When Potiphar's wife seeks more from this slave, he refuses to dishonor his master or break the laws of God. Furious, Potiphar's wife lies about Joseph and has him put in jail. He waits there for years, again earning respect and interpreting dreams. When the kind of Egypt has a dream no one can understand, others remember Joseph and the gift God has given him. He is called before the king where he interprets the king's dream. As a reward, the king grants Joseph power over all of Egypt.

Eventually, Joseph meets his brothers again. Through a little testing and trickery, Joseph recognizes their changed hearts and reveals himself as the brother they once betrayed. Great rejoicing and forgiveness reign. All of Joseph's family -- his father (Israel), brothers and their families -- come to live in Egypt.

The book concludes with details of Israel's death and burial, then Joseph's death and burial. A glossary of terms is given on the last couple pages.

Black and white line drawings fill every other page. These illustrations offer high contrast and labels of explanation or dialog from the text.

What I Like: This book offers a large font and short chapters (10-15 pages, half of which are illustrations) making it a good choice for beginning readers. I like the delicate way it handles the appeals of Potiphar's wife. Rather than being explicit with her invitation of promiscuity, the text says she "noticed" Joseph, "flirted" with him and "tried to get him to neglect his work in order to spend more time with her." This offers age appropriate details while maintaining biblical accuracy. And that is my favorite thing about this book: It is biblically accurate!

What I Dislike: The illustrations are not clear. My kids often needed explanation to understand what they saw.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: The publisher says 8-12, but my kids (ages 4 and 5) enjoyed listening to it read aloud.

Publisher Info: Barbour Publishing, 2007; ISBN: 1597899267; Paperback; $7.95

Buy it from the publisher for $4.97!

Special Info: See our reviews of other books in this series, including biographies of Ruth, Esther and Paul.

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