If You Only Buy One Book This Year, Make It This One

Honestly, I’ve never found a children’s Bible-story book that I really loved.  The stories all seemed a little dry, and they’re typically presented in a preschool-ish way that doesn’t interest older kids.  Spiritual applications are often watered down, if they’re present at all. 

Bible So, with a hefty dose of skepticism, I followed my friend Megan‘s recommendation recently, and I ordered my kids the Jesus Storybook Bible.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m pretty frugal, and it’s rare that I will tell you something is a must-have.  You also know that I generally don’t do book reviews.  But this time I’m making an exception, because this book is a must-have.  I’ve never seen a children’s Bible story book like it.  I’ve never seen any children’s book like it.  Case in point, there’s this from the opening paragraph:

God wrote, "I love you" — he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea.  He wrote his message everywhere!  Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror — to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing.

— p. 12 

The Bible stories are presented with one goal in mind, and it’s explained in the book’s subheader:  Every Story Whispers His Name.  Beautifully and seamlessly, the story of Jesus is woven through every Old Testament story, explaining why we needed a Savior in the first place.  The stories are the same ones parents have been reading their children for ages, but there is some hefty theology mixed in–seriously, there is some meaty stuff there.  And while that might make it sound difficult for a child to follow, I can assure you that the opposite is true.  These stories challenge the kids, but the gorgeous, lyrical language pull the kids right along.  Here’s an example from the story of Noah, in which the meaning of the rainbow (compared earlier to a warrior’s "war bow") is explained:

God’s strong anger against hate and sadness and eath would come down once more — but not on his people, or his world.  No, God’s war bow was not pointing down at his people.

It was pointing up, into the heart of Heaven.

p. 47

We’ve been reading two or three stories a week, and my three boys are absolutely riveted.  They don’t move a muscle.  The rich content of these stories has generated some of the deepest spiritual conversations we’ve ever had with our kids, and I’m convinced it’s because they’re seeing Scripture presented in such a fresh and authentic way.  (Amazon advertises a target age of 4-8, but I disagree.  My oldest son, who is almost ten, has been eating it up.  I’ve actually learned from it.)

One more example, because this is so good I have to include it.  This is from the story of Christ’s crucifixion:

"Papa?" Jesus cried, frantically searching the sky.  "Papa?  Where are you?  Don’t leave me!"

And for the first time — and the last — when he spoke, nothing happened.  Just a horrible, endless silence.  God didn’t answer.  He turned away from his Boy.

Tears rolled down Jesus’ face.  The face of the One who would wipe away every tear from every eye.

— p. 304

Even the illustrations and fresh and powerful.  The drawing of what it might have looked like when Adam and Eve left the garden brought tears to my eyes.

If I sound ridiculously excited about this book, it’s because I am.  I can’t think of a book I’d recommend more highly to any family, in fact.  It’s available at Amazon for about $10.  It will be worth every single penny.   

41 thoughts on “If You Only Buy One Book This Year, Make It This One

  1. Ami says:

    Thank you! We’ve been wanting to purchase a new Bible for the boys, but I hated to buy another without a high recommendation.

  2. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    Oh wow- I was just looking through children’s bible books a couple days ago trying to find one that had the important stories (and not just David & Goliath, Daniel, and Noah, etc.) Especially one that had the crucifixion. I will have to get this one! Thank you!!

  3. Megan says:

    Amen! I couldn’t agree more, more, more. The author and illustrator both have blogs too, so it would be fun to let them know how much we appreciate their work on this…

  4. Ellen B. says:

    Well this great aunt, hope to be grandma in the future needs to buy that book for her precious visitors box! Thanks for the review. The papa excerpt made me cry. Thank you Jesus for what you endured for me.

  5. Life in Overdrive says:

    Heh…I too have been looking for a good Bible for my kids. They LOVE to play with their others, but this one I won’t let them PLAY with…it will strictly be for reading πŸ™‚ It looks amazing…I just ordered it from Amazon…thanks for the great Easter gift idea!!

  6. Tara says:

    I’m on the bandwagon in trying to get this shipped here in time for Easter! Thanks for the excerpts and recommendation. I value your opinion!

  7. amanda says:

    Thanks, I just looked thru all the “easter” books at the Christian book store and was disappointed at how bunny/eggy they were. I’m glad to see a GOOD book. I’ll definitely check it out!

  8. allison says:

    Thanks so much for this recommendation. I have spent hours in Christian book stores flipping through Bible story books and it is sooo hard to find a really good one. I’ll check it out.

  9. Amy says:

    Thanks so much, Shannon! I am going to get this for our son for Easter. Great gift recommendation and just in time for the season too!

  10. kristen says:

    I have this in my cart on Amazon based on Megan’s recommendation… perhaps if I order today it will come before Easter!
    Thanks for the 2nd, Shannon.

  11. lisa h. says:

    I’ll have to check this out, thanks!
    I have to say I really like the Usborne Bible Tales books and yes, they are preschoolish for 2 or 3 yr olds. They are wonderfully short and simple books with nice illustrations. I found them at a teacher supply store.

  12. Lucy says:

    That sounds similar to a Bible I just got for my kids – The Bible for Young People. It’s beautifully written and illustrated in beautiful traditional eastern iconographic style. I haven’t read a lot of it yet (we just got it!), but the story of Eve being tempted by the serpent is mesmerizing! I love when kids’ Bibles bring the stories truly to life while staying faithful to Scripture. Some can be so dull. I’m glad you found a kids’ Bible you love!

  13. Kristin Steffen says:

    I am also going to get it! We have been looking for a new Bible story book after my two year old has ripped 2 Bibles! Those are the only 2 books he has ripped and both were beyond repair. Also, I wanted to thank you for your spring basket suggestion. We started it this year with our 2 and 1 year old and are excited to continue this new tradition!

  14. Pam says:

    Thanks for sharing this book with us. I can’t wait to check it out. We’ve been looking for a children’s Bible for some time.

  15. Southern Girl says:

    Thanks for mentioning this, Shannon! My new nephew is only six weeks old, but I’m going to get it for him and tuck it away for when he’s a bit older.

  16. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the great advice– I needed something worthy of spending my amazon gift card on! I can not wait to start reading it with my kids!! It should be here for a proper easter gift.

  17. Cynthia says:

    Shoot … it sounded wonderful, just what I have been looking to introduce my children to the Father God that I know … until you quoted the crucifixion passage. No where does scripture say that God turned away from Jesus at the point.
    Jesus spoke the first lines of Psalm 22.
    Unlike modern times when a teacher might say “Remember Psalm 22, in Jesus time, the Psalms were known well and by their first lines.
    Jesus was pointing his followers to Psalm 22, the to prophetic words of David and the hope in those words… …
    “For God has not spurned or disdained
    the misery of this poor wretch,
    Did not turn away from me,
    but heard me when I cried out.”
    Even in His last moments, Jesus was teaching and encouraging His followers.

  18. Hillary says:

    Just bought it! I don’t even have kids… I’ll keep ot for a gift, or maybe even for me! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the reccomendation!

  19. Stacy says:

    I just bought this at Walmart yesterday. I’m giving it to the kids ( 4 1/2 and 1 1/2)for Easter. Until Easter I’m reading it as my devotional each day. Thanks for writing this post because I never would have known about it.

  20. Megan says:

    Cynthia – I just showed my husband your question here and here’s what he said,
    “If that’s the case, I’m not sure what Jesus’ words on the cross, “God (Elohim not Yahweh – which was the personal name of God – in the Hebrew), why have you forsaken me?” mean.
    Last I checked, forsaking was a pretty harsh form of turning away.”
    I think this storybook Bible is exactly on track and very theologically sound. Hope that helps.

  21. Ellen says:

    Arrived today! I snuck off to read it for a few minutes. It is WONDERFUL. Thank you for suggesting it.
    Ellen in Texas

  22. Cynthia says:

    Thanks Megan, but it wasn’t a question but a comment, a statement. Unfortunately, the book doesn’t line up with what I have learned from my own studying and research of the Scriptures.

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