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Cottage Grove, MN
5 Stars Out Of 5
Great for bed time or meal time devotions.
October 25, 2011
Cottage Grove, MN
It's been quite some time since my last children's bible story review, so I thought it was time that I set out and review another. I'm quite familiar with children's books as there are quite a few children running around my home and with those children have come many books. We have a large number of children's Bibles and Bible story books, but we don't just let any book come into our home. We are especially selective when it comes to children's Bibles and other Bible story books, wanting to make sure the message is appropriate for the ages of our children and that these stories are presented in a way that is both accurate and respectful to God's word. A recent release from Christian Focus Publications' CF4K imprint that we feel meets our criteria is 365 Great Bible Stories: The Good News of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation by Carine Mackenzie.
365 Great Bible Stories marks a milestone for Carine Mackenzie as it is her 150th book. Carine's talent as a writer and her commitment to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with young children shines through here as it does in her many other works. Although the book is titled 365 Great Bible Stories, there are actually 366 readings with the final reading bringing everything to a close by explaining how the Bible is the best book of all. Each of the 366 readings is approximately one page in length, making them short enough to hold the attention of even young children with limited attention spans. While I have been using this book for readings with my younger children at bed time, I could see it being equally as useful for devotional reading with your family at the meal table or for any other devotional time your set aside throughout the day. Each of the readings ends with a section noted by red text that is titled either "think" or "pray". These little snippets give parents the opportunity to help their children reflect on what they have just read, helping to reinforce the main point of the reading.
A unique feature worth noting in 365 Great Bible Stories is the use of five key images throughout that will allow you and your children to identify at a glance whether the story you are about to read is related to one of five key Biblical themes. The image / theme correlations are as follows:
* Lamb - Jesus Christ and Salvation
* Winding Road - Traveling and Journeys
* Open Scroll - God's Word
* Sword - Wars and Battles
* Dove - The Holy Spirit
I think this could be especially helpful for newer readers and non-readers to more readily understand how certain stories fit in with the key themes and topics of the Bible.
The book itself is a sturdy hardcover with a solid binding, which is always important for any book that is going to be handled over and over again by young children. There is a single ribbon marker that will allow you to keep your place as you work through the book. I was especially excited about this as I have put numerous bookmarks in our children's Bibles, only to have them quickly pulled out by a toddler. For some reason they seem to leave the ribbon makers alone, so this may help me to retain some of my sanity as I try to figure out where we left off reading the night before. 365 Great Bible Stories has become a mainstay in our home this year for our end of day devotional reading and was a fast favorite with my children. I heartily recommend it for reading to children of any age, but feel it would be most appropriate for children in the range of ages 4-10.
Carine Mackenzie's talent for retelling Bible stories has meant that children from all over the world have been given the opportunity to discover Jesus Christ for themselves. The first title written in the kitchen with the assistance of a basin of water has inspired the production of many other books. Carine's 150th book 365 Great Bible Stories was released in July. She has sales of over 3 million books. She stays in Inverness, Scotland.
Illustrations in 365 Great Bible Stories were provided by David Lundquist, who resides in Minnesota.
This book was provided by Christian Focus Publications for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
I have to be honest, when I saw that Christian Focus was publishing 365 Great Bible Stories by Carine Mackenzie, my first thought was, "Do we really need another children's Bible?" There are already several excellent children's Bible on the market. However, our family has been incredibly blessed by all of the resources that we have purchased from Christian Focus so I really wanted to look through this children's Bible and compare it to the others that we have come to love.
As expected, Christian Focus did not disappoint. Here are some of the excellent features of 365 Great Bible Stories:
- Text that is faithful to the Biblical account with minimal commentary,
- Bible references included with section titles,
- Clearly articulates "The Good News of Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation" (as stated in the subtitle ;),
- Communicates important Biblical truths with clarity,
- Simple illustrations that are not too distracting (and no illustrations of Christ which is important to some people),
- Heavy-duty pages and a built-in ribbon bookmark. :)
Additionally, there are a couple of things that set this children's Bible apart. Having 365 Bible stories, it covers significantly more of the Bible storyline than the traditional children's story Bible. (Our favorite story Bibles for children have 26, 42, and 90 stories.) Each story is contained on one page with a simple illustration and something about which to think, pray, or discuss. Even my three-year-old daughter was able to sit still long enough to read and discuss a selection.
Another feature that makes this children's Bible unique is the way that it highlights recurring "Themes and Topics" with illustrations throughout the book. For example, "When you spot a dove picture that's a story about the Holy Spirit" (pg. 4). Other themes include: "Jesus Christ and Salvation, Wars and Battles, and Travellings and Journeys." You can simply flip through the story Bible, stopping at similar illustrations to trace a Biblical theme.
While there is no replacement for the living and active Word of God, it is helpful to have resources to help our children see the redemptive storyline of the Bible. 365 Great Bible Stories is another helpful resource to that end. It can be used by itself or along with a Bible to help bring greater clarity to the Truth in God's Word and the message of salvation.
*Many thanks to Christian Focus Publications for sending me a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion!