Monday, July 16, 2007

Elijah Hears God Whisper

Part of the "Upside Down, Turn Me Around Bible Stories" series, this book is actually three stories in one. Elijah Hears God Whisper begins on one side, but flip the book around and you'll find two other stories starting from the back: The Little Girl Lives and Words on a Wall. All three stories are written by Bek and Barb, but each has a different illustrator. A one page "Faith Parenting Guide" is featured at the end of each story. This highlights a "life issue" and a "spiritual building block", then offers follow-up activities and suggestions for parents to do with their kids.

"Elijah Hears God Whisper" tells a story often overlooked in children's books. It begins with the prophet Elijah running for his life from Queen Jezebel. While hiding in a cave he cries out to God. God promises to show Himself to Elijah. Elijah witnessed a mighty wind, a great earthquake and a powerful fire, but God was in none of these. He was in a gentle whisper that followed. The story explains that God is very powerful, but we need to listen for His instructions. This part of the book was illustrated by Bill Dickson. His depictions of Elijah are expressive and clear, but the landscapes are less detailed.

"The Little Girl Lives" is told in first person from the point of view of Jarius, the father whose daughter was brought back to life. He tells how she was ill and no one could help. He begs Jesus to come, but before they could reach her, she died. Jesus said she was not dead. "She's only asleep." When He spoke to the child, she opened her eyes and was healed. The authors do a great job providing personal details in this story. The illustrations, done by Alastair Graham, are fantastic. He uses a lot of pastels, but that's not a problem. The pictures are perfectly appropriate for the suggested age range.

"Words on a Wall" is another story seldom found in children's books. Kids hear all about Daniel, but somehow this story is often overlooked. The Babylonian king, Belshazzar, has stolen all the cups and utencils from God's temple. This story starts with a feast the holds with those stolen items. In the middle of the party, a hand appears out of nowhere and writes on the palace wall. Neither the king nor his guests know what the words mean, so Daniel is called to solve the riddle. He tells the king that God is angry he has stolen from Him and worshiped false gods. "This is God's way of saying you are not a good leader. You will not longer rule over Babylon, and this kingdom will be given to someone else." That very night God's words about the king came true. This portion of the book is illustrated by Elizabeth Swisher. She uses bold colors. Her drawings are a bit sketchy and cartoony.

What I Like: I love that this book features lesser-known Bible stories. And having three stories in one book is great! My kids go on reading marathons, so it's nice to do multiple stories without changing books frequently. I like the illustrations by Alastair Graham very much. The novelty of flipping the book is fun, too. My kids really like this book.

What I Dislike: The stories of Elijah and Jesus' miracle were great. The story of Daniel and the king was just not the same caliber. I didn't like the illustrations in that part of the book, and the story ended abruptly. I would have liked the story to elaborate on HOW God's words came true. What happened to the king that night? Finally, the "Faith Parenting Guides" are weak. Some of the connections are good, but some are a stretch. The activities are boring and require very little imagination.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Range: 4-7

Publisher Info: FaithKidz, 2006; ISBN: 0781444691; Paperback; $7.99

Buy it Now at Amazon for $7.99

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