Monday, November 2, 2015

Animals of the New Testament

Animals of the New Testament, written by Janet K. Warren, is a picture book featuring an animal’s viewpoint on various Biblical events. The book tells six separate stories. Each story starts with a Scripture verse (written out with the reference provided) and  starts with a similar phrase:“A very long time ago, in fact it was well over 2000 years ago; there lived an (animal) whose name was (NAME). “

Most stories consist of one large coloring-book style illustration done by Beth Zyglowicz and then three to four solid pages of text.

This book is the second in a series of animal books by Janet K. Warren.

What I Like: It’s nice that the author includes Scripture with each story. And I believe the author has the best intentions at heart, wanting to present the familiar Christmas story from a different perspective.

What I Dislike: I had major issues with this book, which prevent me from recommending it. They are:

* Some stories contain information outside the Biblical text, but it is presented as fact.
* Other stories may stick somewhat close to the Scriptural facts, but the author has (almost arbitrarily) added a creature to the story.

The issue is further confused since the author cites a verse of Scripture before each story and uses real Biblical people and situations, which lends the book legitimacy.  However, it is a work of fiction. These animals aren’t singled out (or don't even exist) in the Biblical text.

To be more specific, the author tells about the baby Jesus miraculously and intentionally healing a dead baby mouse while He lies in the manger. A horse and an angel carry on a conversation while wise men visit Jesus in the manger. (Here is another inaccuracy. Most Bible scholars will convincingly argue the wise men did not come on the night of Jesus’ birth.) Then Zacharias and Elizabeth have a little white goose while devout prayer warrior Simeon has a monkey. The goose somehow gets into the Holy of Holies area to witness the verbal exchange between Zacharias and an angel. The monkey apparently hangs out in the temple all the time and entertains Simeon while he waits for the messiah to arrive.

That's stretching things a little bit too much for me. While these may have been animals that were around during New Testament times, the Bible doesn’t include them in Scripture. Because of those problems, I think this book can be quite misleading or confusing for children to read.

There are also some minor issues that make me hesitate to recommend this book. First, the price of the book is rather steep. Second, the pictures were too far too few and the amount of text per page far too much for the target audience, making it not very visually appealing.

Overall Rating: Ho-hum.

Age Appeal: Suggested 4-8.

Publisher Info: Author House, 2014; ISBN: 978-1491873243; Hardcover/ Paperback/ Kindle, 30 pgs., HC $26.99, PB $19.99, Kindle $3.99.

This book is not available  at
Buy it at for  HC $26.99 OR PB $19.99 OR Buy the Kindle version for $3.99.

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