Some of my favorite moments of each day occur around 7:30pm. This is the time I typically have devotions with my five-year-old twins using a storybook Bible.
Up until they were three, my wife and I used The Big Picture Story Bible with our kids. This is a fantastic storybook Bible. In fact, if you want a quick overview of the entire Bible and how all the major stories fit together as one, it’s worth your time to read as an adult. (You can do so in about an hour.)
However, as my kids’ attention spans have expanded, I’ve struggled to find a next stage storybook Bible I was satisfied with. That is until now. B&H Publishers recently released their new It’s All About Jesus Bible Storybook. Having worked in Christian retail for over 16 years, and children’s publishing for the last three, I’m quite the connoisseur of storybook Bibles. Yet, I place the It’s All About Jesus Bible Storybook (IAAJBS from here on out) right at the top. Here are eight reasons why:
1) It’s true to the biblical text.
Like most storybooks Bibles, the stories here are abridged for younger kids. However, they communicate exactly what the passage says. Unlike some storybook Bibles, the readings don’t force moralistic lessons as the main point of each story. The IAAJBS also doesn’t try to be cute or funny, and there are no imaginary characters used (remember Psalty?) that might risk blurring the line between fiction and nonfiction. Basically, your kids will learn the Bible through this Bible storybook.
2) It ties all the stories to Jesus and His gospel.
The IAAJBS is tied to The Gospel Project for Kids line of resources. As such, it does an excellent job teaching kids how the Old Testament looks forward to Christ’s incarnation and foreshadows His sacrificial death. Likewise, it shows how the New Testament announces and builds on this good news. If you’re not familiar with The Gospel Project for Kids, check out this overview video:
3) It includes a “Christ Connection” bubble for each story.
This call out summarizes how the passage relates to Jesus. I find this extremely helpful as a parent. Here’s an example of what one looks like:
4) It has 100 stories.
As a comparison, Zondervan’s best-selling Jesus Storybook Bible contains only 44 stories. Kids will learn a broad variety of Scripture passages, some not as well known, but just as inspired as John 3:16. Here’s a picture of Joshua setting up a stone of remembrance with the Israelites as part of his final encouragement to them. How many storybook Bibles do you know that include this passage? Not many!
5) Each story is three pages long.
I find this not too long, but also not too short for the attention spans of four-to-seven year olds.
6) It includes a discussion question for each story.
This is also provided in a bubble format and helps kids and parents further interact with the passage and each other. This is a great tool for helping parents encourage healthy dialogue centered around the text. Here’s an example of a discussion question:
7) The artwork is contemporary, engaging, and realistic.
Pictures are important to our kids who live in a visually-stimulating culture. This IAAJBS features some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen in a storybook Bible. Here are a few examples:
8) A few bonuses…
These aren’t make-or-break features, but they’re nice. First, the IAAJBS contains a ribbon bookmark which is great because my kids are constantly losing the scrap paper we use to mark our place.
Secondly, the IAAJBS is compatible with a free app that allows the book’s pictures to be viewed in 3D on a smartphone or tablet (Android or Apple). It’s a pretty cool feature to check out, but it can be distracting to the story if kids are waving a phone around while you’re trying read.
For these eight reasons, I heartily recommend the It’s All About Jesus Bible Storybook to parents who have kids in the four-to-seven age range. It’s what we plan to use in our house for the next several years. You can learn more about this resource at your local LifeWay Christian Store or here at lifeway.com.