“The Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.” – from Chapter One of The Jesus StoryBook Bible
The Jesus Storybook bible is a one-of-a-kind bible storybook for children. As soon as I read the introduction, I was completely hooked. It starts with Psalm 19:1-2 paraphrased, and then follows: “God wrote ‘I love you’- he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror – to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing”.
I love the concept of helping children (and adults) see the Jesus-centred story line of the Bible. Sally Lloyd-Jones successfully takes the reader on a journey, weaving the story of Jesus through every chapter.
I love this part of the first chapter, which shows how the author intends to bring the bible to life for children: “The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves. It’s like a most wonderful fairy of fairy tales that has come true in real life! You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true”.
The language beautifully speaks into a modern cultural context that is somewhat obsessed with fairies and heroes, but instead of watering down the beauty of God’s love story and turning it into another make-believe story, it brings life and song to the truth of God’s love in a way that children can hear and receive.
I love the inclusion of stories that don’t normally make it into children’s story bibles, such as the books of Psalms and Revelation, and a rich telling of some of Isaiah’s prophecies.
The author takes some creative license in the re-telling of the stories, which for a children’s storybook for 4-7 year olds, you can expect a degree of. I personally don’t mind this and don’t believe it falls outside the bounds of what you would expect from a children’s storybook. I’ve read some reviews elsewhere that lists off the ‘inaccuracies’ – for example the lack of emphasis on repentance, holiness, and other key Christian doctrines. I would say to this that if the intent of a bible storybook at this age is to introduce exact theology to your child, then you might want to look at a different children’s bible. But if you’re looking for an engaging experience, which demonstrates the beautiful of God’s story of reaching out to rescue His beloved, then you’ll be thrilled with this.
An example of the author’s creative licence in ‘The Song of Creation, from Genesis 1-2 ‘: “Like a mommy bird flutters her wings over her eggs to help her babies hatch, God hovered over the deep, silent darkness. He was making life happen.”
And do we really know if the lost son got that homesick feeling in his stomach? Or if Jesus really said ‘get this little girl some breakfast’ after he raised her back to life? Or even if the Wise Men really did ride their camels across endless deserts, up steep mountains, down into deep valleys, through raging rivers, and over grassy plains? Of course not! But the author paints a beautiful expressive picture to engage the mind and heart of a child into a love story that has Jesus at the centre, and in language and concepts that children can understand.
My daughter had two other bibles previously which we purchased through early Sonlight Cores, and they didn’t engage her interest much at all. Or mine for that matter. After having the Jesus Storybook Bible for about 2 years now, she has completely become taken with knowing the Creator of the Universe who is also her loving Heavenly Father who thinks she is one special and fantastic kid. She quite literally fell in love as the bible storybook invited her to see the Bible, and its Author, through the eyes of every story whispering his name. Now at 7 years old, we continue to read this bible alongside her Discoverer’s Bible and the hard work of capturing her interest and engaging her heart is done. Thank you Sally.
If you are looking for an exact translation, or something that adheres to the look and feel of the Bible text closely, then this is not the storybook for you.
But if you are looking for your child be captivated with the Story at the heart of all the stories, to hear the heartbeat of the Father as he reveals his Son throughout his Word, and best of all in language that a child can understand, this may well be what you’re looking for.
See The Jesus Storybook website for downloads and audios. The book comes in hardcover, deluxe hardcover edition with audio, e-book, and there is also a 50-week curriculum available. About to be released is a collector’s edition that includes DVD’s of all 44 stories.