99 Stories from the Bible

I’ve been on this kick recently of reading and reviewing children’s books, book I got in an effort to find resources to support me in guiding their spiritual development and growing their faith.  Some have been good, and some have been not-so-good; unfortunately, this book falls in the latter category.

The difficulty with reading books that take Biblical stories and water them down to levels kids can understand is that it’s hard to reduce the word of God at all – how do you take the fall and reduce it to just a couple of sentences without loose the truths contained in it?  Not to mention the story of the crucifixion and resurrection.  And that’s the problem with 99 Stories from the Bible – in trying to reduce the stories into “readable” versions for little kids, the truth is water-ed down (at best) or completely omitted (at worst).


If you’re looking for a devotional to do with your kids, this book isn’t it – I would still recommend Sally Lloyd-Jones The Jesus Storybook Bible instead.  Overall I’ll give this book 1/5 stars; for the record, I did receive a complementary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest (though not necessarily favorable) review.


Bedtime Prayers that End with a Hug

Devotionals for little kids are hard to write – and too often I find them shallow and missing out on the big-picture of what scripture is telling us.  But I have to say I was impressed with the Bedtime Prayers that End with a Hug.  Most appropriate for young children (I’d say 2-4), they are short and to the point, yet they are also very clear and theologically sound.

978-1-4143-8354-5One thing I loved about the book was the simplicity and also directness of the prayers themselves.  These were prayers I can pray with my girls, that they can understand, but also that have deep truth contained in them.  The book makes a great supplement to reading an appropriate children’s bible (personally, I would recommend the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Loyd-Jones) and can begin the life-long process of teaching our kids both the importance of pray and the process of actually praying.

Overall I’ll give this book 4/5 stars.  For the record, I did a receive a complementary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily favorable, review.

My Princess Devotions Preschool Edition

Having two girls (currently 6 and 4), I am always looking for good books that I can use with them to build scriptural knowledge and invest in their faith development, so when I was given the opportunity to review the One Year My Princess Devotions Preschool Edition I was excited to have another tool in my tool box.  Unfortunately, the book didn’t live up to my (or my daughter’s) expectations.

Divided into 365 daily readings, the book selects a single verse, assigns, it a topic, then presents what it calls “Princess Thoughts”, a prayer, and a conclusion referred to as “Princess in Action.”  Overall, though, the thoughts, prayer, and action sections are short and shallow – even for pre-schoolers, each section ranging in length from just a single sentence to perhaps as many as four sentences.  But there is no context given for the verse, and little effort is made to tell the story of scripture.  If you’re looking for a devotional to use with your kids, this leaves much to be desired.  While it may supplement other training you do, I certainly can not recommend it to stand on its own.  I’ll keep it on my shelf and use it more for topical issues as they arise, but other than that it’s not something I will regularly pull down to use and, more tellingly, it’s not something my girls run to and get when it’s time for devotions.

978-1-4143-6905-1Overall, I’ll give this book a 2/5 stars.  For the record, I did receive a complementary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily favorable, review.

Noah’s Ark Playtime

My Very First Noah’s Ark Playtime published by Lion Children’s Books is a great activity book for young children to teach them the story of Noah.  Overall the book is great – it’s got stickers, receipes for baking with your kids, and a game to play.  My struggle with many children’s books of Biblical stories is that they too often water-down the story to make it “kid friendly” or, on occasion, actually tell the story incorrectly.  This book suffers from the latter in two ways.

First, when God destroys the world the story as God saying, “The rain will flood this bad old world.” (emphasis mine).  Yet the world itself was not bad, but it was the evil in man’s hearts that was “bad” – in fact, scriptures doesn’t say God wanted to destroy the earth, but rather that he regretted he “had made man on the earth”.  The purpose of the flood was not to destroy the world, but to destroy evil man.  Some may find this a minor detail, but it actually speaks to the heart of the gospel – God wars against evil man, not a bad world.

Second, on the page where the animals board the ark this story reads that “Noah fetched two of every kind of animal.”  Again, scripturally this isn’t 100% accurate.  Noah’s job was to build the Ark, not fetch animals.  On the contrary, God tells Noah that “Two of everything…will come to you so that you can keep them alive.” (emphasis mine).  The story of Noah is not about Noah’s righteousness but rather is about God’s grace and mercy – and reinforces that God is in control, not Noah.  Unfortunately, in this area the text falls short.

9780745964140If your kids have a solid understanding of scripture and you’ve taught them what it says (as I have), you can give them this book as a fun activity to do – in fact, I intend to allow them to use it in the car on a road trip for activities.  But to use it as a tool to teach them the story would be a mistake because if this is the first (or only) exposure they have to the story they may walk away with a greater respect for man than they should and not in awe of the grace and power of the almighty God that scripture teaches us about.

Overall, I’ll give this book 2.5/5 stars – mainly for the theological concerns I have.  For the record, I did receive a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest (though not necessarily favorable) review.