Thursday, November 8, 2007

My First Message: A Devotional Bible for Kids

The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson, has become a popular translation of Scripture, quickly challenging the New International Version for most contemporary. Just last month, a child version was released: My First Message: A Devotional Bible for Kids.

Most children's Bibles offer simplified retellings of Scripture. This one doesn't. This book tells real Bible stories, from Genesis to Revelation; it even uses the same text as the adult version. Toss in kid-friendly cartoon illustrations and age-appropriate applications and you've got an excellent study Bible to keep kids interested in Scripture.

The devotional format encourages children to Read, Think, Pray and Live.

  • Read: Included are 50 Bible stories. Biblical references are clearly featured.

  • Think: Colorful "bubble" sidebars ask questions to involve children in the story. For example, the chapter on Exodus 7-11 (The Plagues) asks "What does it mean to be stubborn?" and "Would you change your mind if all these things were happening to you? Why or why not?"

  • Pray: Prayer prompts are at the end of each chapter. After reading about the good Samaritan, children are encouraged to "pray for neighbors on your block, in your school and around the world."

  • Live: A special character, Manty the praying mantis, can be found throughout the book. He details fun activities and applications right next to the prayer prompts. Some are service activites or ways to reach out to friends at school. Others are drawing or craft projects. All of them reinforce the lessons from the stories.

Additional features include a parents' guide (in the front of the book), vocabulary words (definitions offered in the margins), and hidden Mannys (Manny the praying mantis is hidden in several of the illustrations).

Rob Corley and Tom Bancroft have filled this book with inviting illustrations kids love. The characters are distinct (as opposed to some children's Bibles where every character looks the same) and active. Their cartoony, comic book style comes from over 30 years combined experience in animation, most of which while working for Disney.

What I Like: This is the first children's Bible I've found to make real age-appropriate connections. For example, the author makes the story of Jonah personal, understandable by saying "God sent Jonah to time-out in the belly of a huge fish." (This is in the Pray section, not the story section.) It then encourages kids to confess their sins to God and ask Him to help them obey. I think this is a fabulous application! I also really like the introductory material. The front of the book gives several pages of parent helps to direct them in how to use this book with their children, how to effectively teach their children to love God.

What I Dislike: Some of the illustrations are a little odd, but this may be my more conservative nature popping through. My kids LOVE this book, especially the illustrations. It's the new favorite Bible in our house -- and we have a lot!

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: 4-8

Publisher Info: NavPress, 2007; ISBN: 1576834484; Hardback; $17.99

Buy it Now at for $11.99!

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