I realized that in my Christmas blog I forgot to mention the Bibles my little ones received! And they were my favorite gift to give! Sparrow's is called "The Bible for Children" and is the entire Bible in Simplified Living Bible Text. The art work is riveting, realistic, and just well-done. Golden's is "The Jesus Storybook Bible," deluxe edition. I had been looking for a good children's Bible for some time. I have no stomach for most normal children's "Bibles," which should not really be allowed to call themselves Bibles at all, but should rather be called "Sparse Collection of Bible-Based Stories," wouldn't you agree? It's a shame, really, nothing like the Bible! I would rather read to my children a good Dr. Seuss book or Laura Ingalls Wilder than most any children's Bible.
The quest: a children's Bible that
1) Contains the whole of scripture, not just "stories," in simpler language for children
2) Has beautiful, inspiring, engaging art work
How hard can it be? Harder than you think! Apparently the whole of scripture is not appropriate for children, or children are not expected to be able to benefit from reading it. As for art work? If i see another 2-dimensional pudgy Noah that looks like a cutesy Fisher Price figurine...I guess I'll have to commission my husband to do the art work himself!
I began asking other mothers for suggestions. Passed up a few, but then my lovely "Mama Joy," the mother of one of my best friends, emailed me about a children's Bible she LOVED: it was called "The Bible for Children" in Simplified Living. She told me that it was out of print, but there were currently a few used ones on Amazon. Sure enough, I looked at it and loved the art work, too! So I snagged one for about $20--though they were also available for $400! Must be a rare find. Turns out it was just what I was looking for, and then I found out that my friend next door had been searching for a copy of this Bible for YEARS! She had had one when she was young and lost it, and now could not seem to locate one anywhere! I was able to find another one for only a few dollars more the next week. Of course she must have her childhood Bible!
The second Bible was also suggested by Mama Joy, and I felt even better about it when I noticed it was approved by my favorite mama blogger. It is called "The Jesus Storybook Bible," and even though it is, yes, a collection of stories, it surpasses other children's Bible story books for these reasons:
A) It shows how each of the stories in the selection point to Christ, from the very beginning, and going on throughout scripture.
B) The writing is more interesting/riveting than most. It might as well be excitingly written, if it is going to be reworded at all!
C) The art is done by a renowned professional. It is modern and cool. I still prefer the realistic-looking artwork to anything stylized, but at least it is interesting.
D) It comes with audio CDs! (the "deluxe" version does, anyway.) These are read by a most delifghtful and talented professional actor, excellent storytelling. (It was also only about $16, with CD's and everything.)
We have all been thoroughly enjoying both of these Bibles this year. The girls frequently sit and look at the pictures in the BFC, and we are reading it morning and evening, chapter by chapter. (With minor skipping--sparrow is only four, after all!) It also contains some recap and thinking questions to make it easier for the parent to check in with how the children are understanding it. It is not quite as literal as I prefer, for example, it uses the word "contract" instead of "covenant," and the two are actually quite different concepts. However, that is what you get with "Simplified," and at least it contains the whole of scripture. We will not be using it for memorization. Sparrow listens to the JSB every spare minute. She has figured out the "play" and "pause" buttons on the stereo and just listens to it throughout the day whenever she is in her room! She is listening to it right now, in fact. Their favorite story is called "the Young Hero and the Horrible Giant." They laugh at it, quote it, etc. I am also noticing that Sparrow is absorbing information from it. She will act out certain stories or start telling me a bit of theology every now and then. I am loving seeing the scripture becoming something they love! Last night we came home late and I sat down to pray with them as I tucked them into my bed (hard day and daddy's gone so long...) Sparrow, suddenly alarmed: "Oh no! ...We forgot to read the Bible!"
"I will read it to you right after prayer." ...but she was dreaming about it before I got to "Amen."