Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book Review: The Beginning Reader's Bible

Oh my!  This book is totally not what I expected when I requested a review copy.  I think I was expecting a Bible meant for early readers, with a lot of simplified text, or maybe a complete Bible.  I did not expect a 'story Bible' format.  I should have, the description is good.  I just wasn't thinking, I guess.

The Beginning Reader's Bible is gorgeous, and bigger than I expected (it's around 9"x10").  The illustrations are beautiful, and take up a lot of the page.  But there is more text than I really thought there would be, I guess.

Since the first thing I turn to when deciding about a children's Bible is the story of Noah, let me use it to illustrate the features of this Bible.

The story of Noah covers four two-page spreads.  It is titled "Noah and the Great Flood" and it tells you that this includes selections from Genesis 6-9.  It starts off looking like a Bible -- a bold 6 followed by a superscript 9, so you know you are reading Genesis 6:9.  In this Bible, that reads "Noah was a good man.  He walked with God."  If you hover over the reference, you can see how that is worded in the ESV for comparison (this edition uses the International Children's Bible).

The first two-page spread is about building the ark, and the illustration has the ark with scaffolding in the background, and Noah talking to skeptical people in the foreground.  In addition to the Bible text, there is a box labeled "Pray God's Word" which includes words from Psalms.  I love this feature (it is included in all the stories).

The second two-page spread is inside the ark, with the animals boarding.  There are two pigs, two zebras, two rabbits -- but there are more cows, and it is clear that one bird includes seven of the same kind.  I love that touch.

The third two-page spread has the most text, and the picture is of a realistic ark (no giraffes poking out the top) on a storm-tossed sea.

The final two-page spread has the ark perched on dry ground, a rainbow, Noah with his arm around the Mrs., and the animals filing off.  The text is fairly brief, with the promise not to destroy the world by water.  And there is a yellow box that includes two features common to each story -- a memory verse (Genesis 9:13 in this case) and an activity.  This time, the activity is to draw a rainbow using all your favorite colors, and to remember that God always keeps his promises, and you should too.

I love this Bible.  Some other details:
  • There are 13 stories from the Old Testament, most being the "big" ones you'd expect, but also stories like Rahab and Nehemiah.
  • There are 13 stories from the New Testament, again mostly covering the "big" stuff.
  • The final section includes a variety of extra resources, like the Ten Commandments, the 23rd Psalm, and verses from Proverbs.  There are also lists of the books of the Old and New Testaments, the apostles, and the tribes of Israel.
Overall, this Bible is unique among all the Children's Bibles I own.  I think it is going to be a nice transition from the "reader" type to a "real" Bible.  My kids loved looking at the pictures.  It turns out that it is in between my kids -- a little too young for one, and just a bit too much for the next.  I look forward to using it with him in another few months though.

Disclaimer:  As Booksneeze Blogger, I did receive this book for free from Thomas Nelson.  No other compensation was received.  For more about my take on reviews, visit my blog post here.


i cant decide said...

I received this book for review also and thought I would be getting an easy read children's Bible. I love it! It's so beautiful and the illustrations are wonderful for any age. My 7 year old read half of the book in two days!

I guess I should go write my review now, lol.

Anonymous said...

This sounds wonderful. I will have to look for it for JDaniel.