Friday, July 08, 2011

My Favorite Things: The Jesus Storybook Bible

**This post has been in the works for months, literally. I started it in February, but I kept forgetting to go back and add in the links and pictures. Julia's comment last night about Jesus rescuing us brought the post back to my mind, because the overarching theme of the Jesus Storybook Bible is that Jesus loved us so much, He came to rescue us--to get us back. I know this was another tool God used to bring about Julia's understanding of salvation. So here's the post--finally finished!

For quite some time, I've been seeing reviews on some of my favorite blogs for The Jesus Storybook Bible. We have had a hard time finding a Bible story book to use for family devotions that we really love (although we have some that we have used and liked quite well--which I will mention at the end of this post). Anyway, I'd had The Jesus Storybook Bible on our wish list for a while, and we were able to get it for the children for Christmas.

I have to admit that at first I was skeptical if I would really like this children's Bible, just because of the pictures. They are a rather unusual style, and just seemed kind of cartoonish to me. After getting used to them, though, I don't mind them--I guess they've kind of grown on me. :) I now tend to think of them as more whimsical than strange. And the kids really like them a lot . . . I think the artist did a good job drawing them in a childish way that appeals to kids. Anyway, regardless of the artwork, the stories were what I was most interested in, and this book did not disappoint. This is not a comprehensive children's Bible, but all of the stories in it do indeed "whisper His name." The author, Sally Lloyd-Jones, did a beautiful job weaving Jesus throughout the whole book, just as He is in the real Bible! The stories are easy for children to understand, beautifully written, and I have actually been brought to tears by some of them--they're that good. This book is a real treasure, as it shows God's heart for mankind--"His Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love."

We purchased the deluxe edition, which includes the entire book on three CDs, narrated by David Suchet. I would highly recommend, if you ever purchase this book, that you get this edition. Suchet (who happens to be one of my favorite actors/narrators--he also played Aslan in the Focus on the Family's Narnia, and is best known for his portrayal of Hercule Poirot in the BBC series Poirot ) does a fabulous job telling these stories. Even without special sound effects, my kids love, love, love to listen to these. They have sometimes even requested them to listen to as they're going to sleep at night (they usually listen to music). They're just really good, and to me it's worth a few extra dollars to get the set with CDs, simply because of how excellent they are.

Besides this Bible story book, there are also several others that we enjoy and still use from time to time, as well. Here they are:

Family Time Bible in Pictures by Kenneth N. Taylor

Kenneth Taylor has written several good Bible story books, and this is one of our favorites. It came with Sam’s curriculum for Kindergarten, and we have used it often for Bible time. I really appreciate the beautiful illustrations and the stories which are very faithful to the Bible, while also being geared toward children.

Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Ella K. Lindvall

We have volumes 1 and 4 of this set. The kids LOVE them. They have very simple stories with large, colorful pictures. Every now and then we pull these out and read them for a week or two, for Bible time. The stories are easy enough that sometimes Sam even reads them aloud to us!

This is the most in-depth and thorough children’s Bible that I have ever seen. The only problem I have with it (which isn’t really a problem :)) is that the stories are a little too deep and lengthy for very little children. We bought this about 3 years ago or so, tried it for Bible time, and it just didn’t hold the kids’ attention. This past year it was part of Sam’s school curriculum, and he is now at a good age for it. We will finish reading through it next year. Julia and Josiah will sit and listen to it occasionally, but Sam is definitely getting more out of it. If you’re looking for a well-written, accurate children’s Bible that covers more Bible history than most of the other Bible story books out there, I would highly recommend this one. The illustrations are also gorgeous (although there aren't enough of them, in the kids' opinion :)).

So, these are some of our favorite tools for teaching our little ones about Jesus. How about you guys? Any other Bible story/family devotions recommendations for me? :)

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