Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Awesome Book of Unusual Bible Heroes

The Awesome Book of Unusual Bible Heroes for Kids, written by Sandy Silverthorne, features short chapters retelling twenty Bible stories of unexpected details. Some describe unique situations while others detail courage and leadership from unlikely characters.

Readers will get a glimpse into the lives and adventures of:
  • The Egyptian Midwives (Exodus 1)
  • Rahab (Joshua 2, 6)
  • Ehud and Eglon (Judges 3)
  • Deborah, Barak and Jael (Judges 4)
  • Jonathan and his armor bearer (1 Samuel 14)
  • David and Abigail (1 Samuel 25)
  • Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9)
  • Ahimaaz and Jonathan (2 Samuel 15, 17)
  • Naaman (2 Kings 5)
  • Elisha and his servant (2 Kings 6)
  • Jonah (Jonah 1-4)
  • The Four Lepers (2 Kings 6-7)
  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego (Daniel 3)
  • Esther and Mordecai (Esther 3-5, 7-8)
  • The Boy with the Lunch (John 6)
  • Peter (Matthew 14)
  • The Healed Lepers (Luke 17)
  • Bartimaeus (Mark 10)
  • Jesus (Matthew 20)
Each chapter begins with a short introduction and Bible references (for further study) then launches into a paraphrased re-telling of what happened. A short paragraph -- labeled "The Big Picture" -- offers questions for reflection and application.

Illustrations by the author may be found throughout the book. These are typically line drawings of a sketchy cartoon nature. They add a touch of whimsy to the already entertaining text.

What I Like: The storytelling quickly draws in readers. The book is funny and on a kids' level. The illustrations accentuate the humor, too. My kids really enjoyed them. I greatly appreciate the inclusion of Scripture references! These made it easy to validate the truth behind the stories by going straight to the Bible and reading them there. The author does take some creative liberties, especially with dialog and descriptions not specifically detailed in Scripture, but this book is quite accurate and, I felt, age-appropriate (even with the inclusion of Rahab). I like that this book features lesser-known stories of Scripture. Kids who have been in church their whole lives get tired of David vs. Goliath, Noah vs. the Flood and Daniel vs. the Lions. This book offers a way to reignite their wonder and excitement about God's Word.

What I Dislike: The story telling featured such animated details that I found myself questioning them. Referencing Scripture is a great thing, but not being able to fully trust what you're reading is not. I fear that, in many cases, the exaggerated tone might support doubters rather than reinforce the truths of God's supreme authority and divinity. I wish the author had better emphasized the truth behind each account.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: 8-12, more likely to attract boys than girls, but my daughter (age 9) liked it

Publisher Info: Harvest House Publishers, 2012; ISBN: 0736929258; Paperback, 144 pages; $8.99

Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $7.19!
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $8.99.

Special Info: This title is also available in ebook format for $7.19 both from Christianbook.com or Amazon.com.

While I felt this book was age-appropriate for the target audience, some parents may take issue with included violence, particularly in Chapters 3 and 4. These accounts come from the book of Judges, a notoriously violent part of Scripture. The stories include battles and assassinations. I felt the author did a great job relaying the truths without offering gratuitous or excessively graphic details.

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