Thursday, August 19, 2010

NIrV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions for Early Readers

If you are looking for a daily devotional chock full of relevant, engaging stories about every topic under the sun, look no more. The NIrV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions for Early Readers is a collection of 365 daily devotions, complete with Bible verse and interesting additional information. Each devotion starts with a story about everyday kids, and then relates to a biblical lesson. The end of each day includes a brief snippet of information in the categories, "Live it," "People/Life in Bible times," "Did you know?" or "Discovering Archaeology."

The stories are about all sorts of kids and their experiences with sports, animals, school, and even accidents. The message of the book is not life as a Christian is always perfect, but rather, life as a Christian means God is with you, no matter what. Some stories inspire readers to help others and embrace their talents, while others offer encouragement in the midst of divorce, life-changing injuries and death.

Author Marnie Wooding is careful to be open-minded about some of the more "denominational" topics within Christian thought, such as when the end times will occur, what the Bible teaches about animals in Heaven, and whether Christians should get tattoos. She is quick to point out even though Christian scholars may disagree, children should ask their parents, pastors or youth leaders and remember, Jesus loves all of us, regardless of our opinions.

The book includes a topic index and a Scripture index.

What I Like: The book is encouraging and upbeat, with a clear biblical message. The devotions are also one page each, a manageable length to read over breakfast or before bed. Wooding is very relevant to today's readers, covering topics like video gaming, online "friends" and children with divorced and remarried parents. She ends each day with an action step, so children have something concrete to do with the information they have read. For example, when Savanna only visits her grandma to complain, Wooding states, "God, your friends and your family don't want to be your personal problem-solvers all the time. If you only talk to them to complain about life, that's not fun for them. Sometimes, a visit should be just about spending time together."

I also like the huge scope of the book. We learn about fasting, cheating, drugs, anxiety, helping friends, foster children. . . . However, the stories rarely carry over from one day to the next, so it is not a big deal to miss a day here or there.

The trivia sections at the bottom are fun, and will engage readers who are not as interested in the devotional aspect of the book.

What I Dislike: Even Wooding's nice characters refer to people as "creeps," "idiots," "losers" or "stupid." We don't use those terms, so I found myself censoring as I read aloud.

While this isn't really a dislike, some of the stories were a little scary or worrisome (being bitten by a shark while surfing; parents divorcing) and I didn't always have time to address the issue over breakfast.

I also find the title misleading. "For early readers" makes me think the book is geared for five- to seven-year-olds who are reading well, and the back of the book lists "Ages 6-9." However, the characters babysit, go shopping at the mall, and attend youth group, and topics like drug use, shoplifting and tattoos seem more appropriate for children ages nine to twelve. Of course, many "tween" readers would be insulted by the "early reader" subtitle. It would be a shame to miss out on this great devotional, but if you read the devotions to them (as opposed to giving the book as a gift), they may not notice.

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: Publisher lists 6-9, but I would say 9-12.

Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2008; ISBN: 978-0-310-71448-4; Paperback, $12.99

Buy it Now at for $9.99

OR Buy it at for $11.04.

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