Tuesday, June 1, 2010

my favorite children's Bible

One question I'm asked fairly often is whether I have a favorite Children's Bible.  And I do!  We have several children's Bibles, but one is by far our favorite, and we've read it from cover to cover many times.  It’s not perfect by any means, but here are the things I like about it:
  • It has beautiful, realistic illustrations (painted, not cartoon).  I want my kids to know that the Bible is reliable, trustworthy and true.  I'm afraid that cartoons, while cute, do not send that message.
  • It has a LOT more stories than most children’s Bibles, including many that you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere! 
  • It does a good job of connecting the stories with one another so that the child has the feeling that it’s one, big story rather than a series of totally random events.  Most kids don't know the Bible at all, but those who do know the key stories have no idea how they relate to one another or in what order they belong.  This Bible helps with that issue.
  • One thing I really like is that the angels do not have wings. This is remarkably difficult to find in a children’s Bible!  Are you scratching your head?  I have searched high and low for biblical evidence that angels have wings ... and have come up with nothing.  (Cherubim are not the same as angels!)  If I'm wrong, please help me out!
On the down side,
  • There are a small handful of stories that are uncharacteristically embellished. That is, most stories stick to what the Bible says, but a couple of stories insert a great deal of interpretive material that distracts from the Bible story itself (such as the 10 lepers, where the author offers reasons for why all the other lepers didn’t come back to say thank you).  There's just no adequate substitute for reading Scripture itself to your kids, but a children's Bible can be a great introduction to the best book in the world.
  • And unfortunately, our favorite Bible can be hard to find. We bought ours in the Philippines, but it is sometimes available through Amazon.
It’s called The Children’s Bible retold by Anne de Graaf and Illustrated by Jose Perez Montero. Our copy is published by Scandinavia in Slovakia in 1991.  Click here for a picture of the edition we have. The later edition has brighter versions of the same illustrations. I'm not aware of any changes to the text. At the moment both editions are available used on Amazon.

I wish you all many happy hours of reading Bible stories to your children!  Bible Time is one of my favorite parts of being a mom. :)

1 comment:

  1. I need to add a caution to this post, based on feedback from a wise friend. The pictures are sometimes graphic. Montero does not shrink back from depicting violence where it is found in the text. If your children are quite young (0-5) or especially sensitive, you may not want to expose them to that much of the real world of the Bible quite yet.

    My friend also reminded me that there are more than a few stories that have been over-interpreted by deGraaf. Her list included the stories of Ruth and Jonah. I tend to edit 'on the fly' as I read when necessary. I still feel like this is the best story Bible that I've seen, for completeness and overall quality, but it does have its faults. I thought it would be good to balance out my positive review.

    If you've read this Bible and have anything to add, please feel free to comment!