Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kids' Bible Facts

With the sub-title "amazing, funny, even gross Bible stuff from Genesis to Revelation," I was surprised to find Kids' Bible Facts by Ed Strauss is really more of a Bible dictionary than anything else.

With nearly 100, mostly full color illustrations, Strauss' book is, above all, exciting for the eyes. There are photos you might expect (like a model of the Arc of the Covenant and antique paintings of scenes from the Bible), and photos that may come as a surprise (like Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog - because some Bible names do sound like they belong to Muppets).

I expected the text to focus on weird facts that would intrigue kids and send them to the Bible. And there is some of that:
"Ezekiel once had a vision of a valley filled with dry bones. There was a tremendous rattling and blanking when the skeletons suddenly reassembled! [See Ezekiel 37:1-10]"

"The Bible talks about an astonishing, fire-breathing swamp monster called leviathan. Read all about it in Job 41. Was it real or symbolic? No one knows for sure."
But most of the entries are much more like a Bible dictionary. For example, the first few entries are for "Aaron" and "Abednego" and offer pretty standard definitions.

What I Like: This book is fun to look at. The pictures are terrific and many are intriguing. (Why show a photo of a man looking miniature beneath a huge dinosaur skeleton? Because the Bible mentions a dinosaur-like creature called a behemoth. Why an image of Paul Revere's famous ride? Because Paul had a (somewhat) similar one.) The sidebars found on nearly every page ("Four War Songs That Women Sang," "Eight Weird War Weapons," "Eight Times the Israelites Vanquished Giants") are fun, too.

What I Dislike: As a sort of not-afraid-to-be-funny kids' Bible dictionary, I think this book is great. But if you're looking for a book that lives up to the "amazing...even gross Bible stuff," you may be disappointed.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 8 - 12.

Publishing Info: Barbour Books, 2009; ISBN: 978-1602604766; paperback, $9.97

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Special Info: Be sure to also check out our review of Barbour Books' Kids' Bible Dictionary.

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1 comment:

Liz said...

My kids would have loved this one, back in the day. They're older now, but I am pretty sure they would have enjoyed the facts and the pictures.

I know this book isn't a Christian children's book but a book about friendship -- just wanted to suggest it as a wonderful story about friends, looking past the surface, supporting each other. It's written by a 10-year-old! (Her name is Natalie Tinti.) It's got such important lessons, including that when you help others, you help yourselves.