Monday, January 21, 2013

Bible Stories That End With A Hug by Stephen Elkins

Recommendation: * (1-star)

This book is a collection of short stories that are taken from the Bible. Each story includes a verse of Scripture, a couple of questions and answers pertaining to the story and a "hug time" at the end.

Positives: The stories are short and can be used for very young children. The illustrations are well done. I liked that the Scripture passages the story was taken from were included on the page.

Negatives: As most of our readers know, I am always a little leary of Bible Storybooks and unfortunately, this book did not change my mind. Overall, it was a disappointment. The most troubling aspect, was that there was no Bible story that told of Christ's death on the cross. There was a story about Jesus eating the Passover meal with his disciples and the next story was about Jesus' resurrection. No mention of the events surrounding the crucifixion or his death on the cross to bear the penalty for our sin.  How are kids to understand the gospel this way? I know there were a lot of stories that weren't included in this book, however I cannot think of any reason to exclude the story that changed the course of history. I also thought the stories focused too much on man and did not bring out the attributes of God enough. The "hug time" was very self-focused. While I am certainly not opposed to hugging my kids, I found this aspect of the book indulgent and unnecessary. There were also a few stories that I disagreed with what they were teaching. The story on baptism teaches that baptism is saying "I am sorry for my sins." That sounds more like repentance, baptism is a step of obedience that tells others publicly that you are a new creation, living for Christ. In another story it teaches that "To Jesus, 'sin' and 'sickness' mean the same thing." I don't care how young your child is, they need to understand the utter sinfulness of their sin. They can understand that when they sin it is a choice they make. We do not choose a sickness, but we do choose to sin. Sin offends a holy God and it is the reason Christ had to die. It is very different to Jesus than sickness.

Talking Points: You can pick and choose the stories you want to read from this book, and some of them are fine. I do like some of the questions the author asks. I would read the story from the Bible and then use the questions in the book to promote discussion. Be discerning though as sometimes the questions don't focus on the real truths found in the story. Overall, keep reinforcing in your child that the Bible stories teach us about God's character and tell us about who He is. Help your child see the gospel story that is woven through every story.  And feel free to give them a hug!

Age Level: 2-5 years of age

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing for this review.

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