Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Not So Super Skyscraper

The Bible's account of the Tower of Babel lasts only a few verses. Too often children's books limit it to just that. The Not So Super Skyscraper offers a much bigger picture by presenting the story within full context of Genesis.

Written by Janine Suter, this book begins with the landing of Noah's ark. It explains that God told those eight people to "Have children and spread far and wide" and how all the peoples of the earth came from that one family. As populations rose, the people decided to move east. They built a city then had an idea:

"And in this great city let's all build a tower
To show off our smartness and muscles and power.
A building to show the world just what we're worth.
A great way to travel to heaven from earth."
Ham's grandson, Nimrod, was the ruler of this city. He did not love God. "He used the great tower to worship the stars. Not a temple to God, but to Venus and Mars." The people followed Nimrod's teaching and turned their backs on God.

In His kindness, God decided to solve the problem by confusing their language. After this all the people scattered to different parts of the earth. The book explains:

"They looked like a family back at the start,
But this started to change as they all lived apart.
Even though they'd all come from the eight on the ark,
Now some groups were light-skinned and others were dark."

The final pages remind readers that, even though we may look and act differently or speak different languages, we are all part of the same family and God loves us all the same. No matter where we live or what we do, there is only one way to Heaven, and that is through God's Son, Jesus.

Richard Gunther employed a unique style to the book's illustrations. Cartoon-like characters, bold outlines and bright colors fill the pages.

What I Like: This book covers a wide spectrum of Scripture and answers a lot of questions! It links several stories -- Noah, Nimrod, Babel, and the path to Heaven -- together in one cohesive lesson. I love that it repeatedly shows God as "good" and "loving." Some stories about Babel present God as a selfish bad guy who just wants mankind kept under His thumb. This one does the opposite. It places mankind in its proper place because of God's grace, not His wrath. What I love most about this book: It very clearly explains that, in spite of how we may look or where we live, God loves us all the same and that the only way to Him is through Jesus, His Son.

What I Dislike: The rhyme is off in a couple spots. One stanza forces readers to say "BABE-ul" instead of the traditional pronunciation: "BAB-ul." Also, I don't like the illustrations. My kids don't seem to mind, but I find them crude, almost like woodcuts, but without the vintage charm. My personal taste aside, the illustrations contradict the text in one very important matter. The text asserts that different races and skin colors came about through the migration of different peoples to different parts of the world. However, the illustrations show people of different skin tones before the building of the tower.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 4-8

Publisher Info: Master Books (an imprint of New Leaf Publishing), 2009; ISBN: 0890515778; Hardback; $9.99

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