Monday, February 10, 2014

Candle Bedtime Bible

I love children's Bible story books!! I have an ever growing collection. I'm always intrigued when a new one is published, how will this be different? what will be the hook? why should someone purchase this specific one?

We all know that the Bible doesn't change, so how much can an author or an illustrator do, to appeal to the Bible storybook fans?  Here's what author Karen Williamson and illustrator Christine Tappin did...

1) it's a Bedtime Bible, and parent's what's implied by the word 'bedtime'? It's a cue for your kiddos to try and stretch out seconds and minutes AS LONG AS HUMANLY possible... that's where this book meets a need... you can choose a 3 minute, 5 minute, or 10 minute retelling of the Bible.  So you could have your kids 'race' the clock with the pjs, teeth brushing, face washing, to get several stories or ONE long one!!
2) The illustrations are warm, with very round faced people, but they have an 'action' quality to them, and their expressions help to tell the stories.
3) The text is written to be read aloud, with fluency, expression, and as if you were watching this happen.  It really does bring the stories to life.
4) I found the re-tellings to be shared in child appropriate vocabulary, but still accurate to the scripture, although not personal.   Each story also give you the scripture reference/portion of the text to read in a translation.  I think it would be a great book to read and compare to a translation, and even discuss how caption stories, and use real translations to get the full power and connections of the scripture.

As I often find, I wish there was a stronger practical application, connection to the people being sinners saved by grace through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross.... This could easily be worked in, but would make it less story like, and more reality based.  Could we include terms and concepts  that connect bad, sad to sin?  Could we share that Jesus died as a King, the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us, so that we could know that He knows our hearts, loves us, and forgives us despite our badness (sin)?

 Children often know they are bad and know when they are good, but I'm not sure without the concept of sin being clearly shared with a young child, how they will grasp the redemption, salvation, and blessing of new life in Christ. As I read through the New Testament stories, I also think that the gospel could be more clearly shared, as it is written, these are Bible stories retold, without the concepts of salvation being offered.   It shares the events in Jesus life, death, and Resurrection with key details of the passages, but not the personal connection and power to make it real for US today.

I still will use this storybook, and add those concepts myself in the thinking and dialogue that goes with a read aloud.  The stories are written in a way that it will be easy and natural to have these conversations, and perhaps, this book will be more appealing to a parent or grandparent who just wants their children exposed to the Bible.   I was given this book for my honest review, these are my thoughts and opinions as a reader or MANY children's Bible storybooks.  

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