Review of The Character Builder’s Bible: 60 Character-Building Stories from the Bible by Agnes and Salem de Bezenac


Genre: Children’s Story Bible


Our family has several favorite children’s Bibles that we rotate through, and this is the one my kids are currently most excited about. The illustrations are perfect for young children, and the stories are simple enough that my seven-year-old can easily read them, and the perfect length to keep my five-year old’s attention.

Each Bible story is connected to a positive attribute (diligence, honesty, service, praise) or theme (peer pressure, salvation, Easter, Holy Spirit). The first two-page spread of each story includes a full-page illustration and concise biblical narrative, and the following two-pages provide the definition of the character trait or theme and a comic-style layout showing how the theme is relevant to children in daily life.

For instance, the story of Samuel hearing God’s voice is connected with “attentiveness,” with the everyday life illustration showing how to set aside quiet devotional time to hear God. The story of the friends carrying the paralyzed man to receive healing from Jesus emphasizes “friendship,” with the real life illustration portraying four examples of healthy friendship. And the story of Zacchaeus demonstrates an example of repentance: feeling sorry, asking for forgiveness, attempting to make it right, not repeating the wrong.

Some of the stories could be better connected with their theme, but have nevertheless provided opportunities for family discussion. Also, the emphasis of this book is on character-building through Bible stories, so this is probably not the best “Bible” for readers desiring a cohesive narrative of Scripture. Although there is a strong evangelical focus, with the basic details of the Gospel message presented in impressive directness and simplicity.

I most love the discussions that have come out of this book, especially of the various character traits. I also appreciate how it introduces new vocabulary, and enjoy that 43% of the stories (26 out of 60) come from the New Testament, as our family tends to spend more time in the Hebrew Bible.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Kids.



Review of the Lion Comic Book Hero Bible by Siku, Richard Thomas & Jeff Anderson


Genre: Bible/Graphic Novel/Children/Teens

Highly Recommended!

unnamed(2)This storybook Bible is written as a graphic novel, which is so appropriate for the younger generation (including many Millennial adults)! The stylistic illustrations are set with succinct captions, allowing the Bible to cover large spans (even whole books of the Bible) in few pages.

I was especially impressed with how this Bible captures the overall history of the Bible so thoroughly. There are many stories and details that are missing (as one would expect with a children’s Bible), but the historical outline is comprehensively presented in a linear format. This may be the best “big picture” storybook Bible I have encountered.

The transition between the Old and New Testaments is particularly well explained, and the 400 years of silence has its own full page. There is also a difference in the OT and NT illustrations (from dark and sketchy, to brighter and more defined), which presents a nice metaphor on the changing spiritual atmosphere with the incarnation of Jesus. The Bible even ends with (a heavily abridged version of) Revelation, which surprised me; but it is done quite well considering the difficulty of capturing such a complex vision. I would have liked a picture of the throne room and/or a more vibrant New Jerusalem (there is a small one)–but even so, I am impressed with how much is illustrated!

It is also fun that each of the character’s is given a “superhero” name (e.g. Adam is Earthman; Deborah is The Iron Maiden; Elijah is Rainmaker; Nehemiah is The Governor; John the Baptist is The Voice; some of the major characters receive more than one name). But as creative as the superhero names were, it might be less confusing to stick with the real ones, at least for practical purposes.

After reading the entire Hero Bible alone, I have now been reading it with my almost-six year old, and he is glued to the stories. We collect Bible storybooks and rotate through them, and this is one of his favorites right now. It is a bit dark–but then so is much of the biblical content!! Some of the stories (especially in the OT) have pretty graphic “bad guys”, war scenes, and violence. I like that the narrative does not glaze over the difficult parts of biblical history, and it makes for good discussion. But, this really is aimed more for teens than younger kids, and some parents/teachers may still be uncomfortable with parts of it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications.



Review of Thankful by Eileen Spinelli Illus. Archie Preston


Genre: Children’s

Highly Recommended.

_225_350_Book.1665.coverI love this book about being thankful for the little things! The charming illustrations show a sister and brother playing dress-up, helping with chores, and generally enjoying themselves, while the corresponding rhyme imaginatively describes the alternate reality of “pretend” that they are reenacting or experiencing. The result is an unusual depth of empathy and thankfulness amidst the simplicity of the story and pictures.

Moreover, the simple rhythmic text is perfect for young readers. My five year old has enjoyed reading this to me, while both he and his younger brother find the illustrations interesting and funny.

This is a book with a great, multi-layered message, that our whole family enjoys.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zonderkids.


Review of Candle Bedtime Bible by Karen Williamson illus. Christine Tappin


Genre: Children’s Bible


When this Bible arrived in the mail my three-year old said, “That book about God? You read to me now!?!” He was so excited, and has continued to be enthralled with this children’s story Bible.

Amazon lists the age range as 3-5 years old, which seems to be about right. I was honestly surprised my little one took so well to this Bible because there are so many more words per page than most of our other children’s books. He really loves the stories and the illustrations, and does not seem to notice that each story has more words than pictures. He often asks to read multiple stories at a time.

As a side note: While my three-year old loves the illustrations (and they certainly are cute), I thought it was strange that there are blond people (not typically Middle Eastern), but not dark-skinned people. Maybe this would not bother most people, but I thought that since diversity is prominently presented it should extend to skin-color as well as hair-color.

This Bible is special in that it includes time estimations for three, five, and ten minute stories. We timed ourselves reading a few different nights, and found the estimations are pretty accurate for straight reading at a normal pace. It easily takes twice the time on the days my little one has questions or comments about the text or pictures, or random things going through his head that he wants to share, but that is to be expected. The Table of Contents is also well marked with the length and order of each story.

This has become one of our favorite children’s Bibles.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications.


Review of Bumper Wipe Clean Activities by Juliet David illus. Marie Allen


Genre: Children’s Activity Books


My three year old has been loving wipe clean books lately. We have books focused on all sorts of learning areas: ABCs, numbers, shapes, etc. But this one is special in that it also teaches about Bible stories, ranging from the Old Testament to Jesus’ earthly ministry. Every page has an engaging illustration, a few sentences describing the Bible event and directions for the activity, and the puzzle itself. The activities are things like connect-the-dots, simple mazes, tracing activities (for numbers and words), finding which two items are the same, marking the order of a story, searching for hidden objects or mistakes within a picture, matching, and more. Most of the puzzles are self-explanatory, so a young person could complete the activity without knowing how to read in the case that the book were used to keep a person distracted.

Here are a couple examples from the book:

Abraham is leaving his home. He is taking his family too. Put a cross through all the things that didn’t exist in Bible times.

These fishermen called Peter and Andrew want to follow Jesus. Which line takes them to Jesus?

I love that this book is relatively small (8″ x 6.7″), because it is just the right size for my little guy. It is also conveniently designed with an official place to hold the pen (the pen is included), and has a very durable hardback cover. We have used other wipe-clean style pens and crayons on the pages, and so far they have all wiped off easily. This is an excellent activity book for preschool or kindergarten aged children to have fun and work on fine motor and logic skills while also learning and familiarizing themselves with the Bible.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Candle Books.


Review of Bible Stories Painting Book 2


Genre: Children’s Watercolor Book


This watercolor book is unique in that the paint is included on the inside cover. Both the front and back sides of the cover flip out for four pages worth of paint. It is also biblically centered with excellent pictures of some of the more popular scenes in Scripture.

As the picture demonstrates, my son loved painting with this book! The built-in paints made the experience much more fun for him.

Also, the pages are perforated so they can easily rip out, making the book easy to share between lots of kids.

One downside is that it is more difficult to get strong colors with the built-in paint because it is in such small amounts and requires very little water. My three year old’s painting turned out a bit diluted, so there was almost no differentiation between the very light colors. He does not have the same problem when using the normal watercolor paint containers. An older, more experienced painter will have an easier time–I was able to get the darker color myself when demonstrating it for my son–but this is something to keep in mind.

Also, the paint is included, but not the brush. We have plenty of art supplies around, so this was not a big deal for us, but might be something to consider if purchasing it for someone as a gift.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications.