The illustrations by Kristina Stephenson are appealing, which is especially important in a child's first Bible. They are relatively realistic but have just enough of that "cartoonish" flavor to appeal to young children.
The stories chosen by Toulmin are what I'd describe as typical for a first Bible. They include the most popular Bible stories, including:
* Noah's flood
* God's promise to Abraham and Sarah
* Old Testament Joseph
* David and Goliath
* Daniel and the lion's den
* the birth of Jesus
* Jesus choosing his "helpers"
* several of Jesus' healings
* the parable of the Good Shepherd
* the feeding of the crowd
* Jesus calming the storm
* Jesus teaching the Lord's Prayer
* the first Palm Sunday
* Jesus' death and resurrection
Each story is greatly simplified and covers only the basics. The Bible comes with either a white, blue, or pink cover.
What I Like: My 3 year old son, who loves books but doesn't care much for most Bible storybooks, likes this book. The illustrations are great, and I appreciate the simple language. I think this storybook Bible is a good, basic introduction to Bible stories.
What I Dislike: There are relatively minor things that bother me about this book. For example, the author writes that God named Eve; but the Bible says Adam named her. There is no mention of the fall. In the introduction to the New Testament, the author writes, "The New Testament stories are all about Jesus." Well, yes and no. The New Testament is more than just the gospel. In the story of Noah, the author writes, "'Look at the rainbow! It shows my promise; I will keep the new world safe for ever.'" God makes no such promise, of course. In the Bible, he states he will never flood the whole earth again, and the New Testament makes it clear this world will come to end someday.
Some parents will also dislike the fact that some stories are so simplified, important aspects are left out. For example, Moses' story is told all in one chapter. This means we rush through the amazing story of his adoption and the story of the plagues isn't mentioned at all. On the other hand, the author does choose to tell the whole story of Jonah, which is unusual in a children's Bible; she doesn't stop when the big fish (shown as a whale here) spits out Jonah. She goes on to briefly tell of his work in Nineveh.
I think parents have to remember this is not a Bible, nor is it even a very complete Bible storybook. It's simply an introduction to Bible stories for very young children.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: There is no recommendation, but I'd say 1 to 4.
Publishing Info: Lion; 2011; ISBN: 978-0745962719; hardback, 160 pgs., $9.99.
Buy the white covered version at ChristianBook.com for $0.99,
the pink covered version at ChristianBook.com for $8.19,
or the blue covered version at ChristianBook.com for $8.19
OR buy the blue covered version at Amazon.com for $9.99