Monday, September 5, 2016

Book Review: The Lion First Book of Bible Stories

The Lion First Book of Bible Stories. Lois Rock. Illustrated by Barbara Vagnozzi. 2012. Lion Hudson. 96 pages. [Source: Library]

The Lion First Book of Bible Stories contains eighteen stories. Eleven of the stories are taken from the Old Testament. (Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David and Goliath, Jonah, and Daniel.) Seven of the stories are from the New Testament. (These all focus on Jesus and his disciples. There is a balance between his teaching, his storytelling, his miracles.)

The length of each story is good: not too long, not too short. I'd say the average is between six and eight pages per story. The book has a lot of text. But the amount of illustrations balance out the text and perhaps will help keep children engaged.

The writing is good. The narrative style is light and entertaining. Nothing stilted.

I think there are strengths and weaknesses in this one. On the one hand, this retelling of Jonah is complete. It tells the WHOLE story. The Jonah-was-a-prophet-who-really-never-got-it story. Not all story book's capture that aspect of Jonah. The fact that Jonah was forgiven by God but didn't want anyone else--especially especially Israel's enemies--being forgiven by God too. On the other hand, I think some of the stories miss out on some important truths. For example, I think God's grace was completely absent from the story of The Garden of Eden. Grace is to be found--in several places, in several ways--in Genesis 3. Yet this retelling one only sees a harsh, angry God.

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