THE TODDLER’S BIBLE (A Dad in the Middle Review)

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Background

As the father of four kids, one of whom is still only four, I jumped at the chance when I was asked to review The Toddler’s Bible by V. Gilbert Beers.  This book from David C. Cook publishing was first published in 1992.  It was released earlier this year with brand new artwork and a fresh cover.  Having seen both the old version (which I was already a fan of), and this new version, I can attest to the improvement in the overall look of the book.

About the Book

This book includes a collection of 101 Bible stories rewritten in the language of toddlers and presented against the backdrop of wonderful artwork.  Each story is four pages long with text appearing on two of the four pages.  I read through the entire book in about 30 minutes by myself, but that isn’t really the point of this book.  The point is to sit, or lay, down with your toddler and engage in the stories with them.  Talk to them about the stories, talk about the pictures, ask them questions and generally build a relationship around these stories and this book.  Dr. Beers has done a great job with picking Bible stories which are age appropriate and provide kids with a great Biblical foundation as they grow in their knowledge of the Bible.   I was struck by the overall completeness of the book which includes many stories that other toddler Bible ignore.  Without tackling every story in the Bible, Dr. Beers does a great job of selecting a great variety of important stories including many lesser known stories without neglecting the time honored “toddler” classics like Noah’s Ark and Daniel and Lion’s Den.

About the Author

Per Amazon.com,

V. Gilbert Beers (Th.D., PhD.) has spent a lifetime encouraging readers to delight in the Scriptures through his over 140 books, ranging from children’s Bibles to reference works. The Victor Journey through the Bible is the product of nine visits to the Holy Land, including a research trip to take photographs for this work. He is currently president of Scripture Press Publications, Inc.

Dr. Beers has been happily married for 53 years and is the father of five grown children. Dr. Beer is also the grandfather of eleven!”

What I Liked About The Book

Dr. Beers writes in such a way that the toddler being read too is actively engaged in the story.  By asking questions like, “Do you see that boy?” or inquiring about how the toddler might feel in a given situation, the toddler is forced from passive listener to active participant in the story.  Because this is a Bible for toddler’s the original stories had to be reworded in an age appropriate way.  In other toddler bible’s I have seen, those “rewordings” have become “retellings” akin to what Hollywood does with a good book.  They bear a resemblance to the original book but do not stay true to the original story.  Overall, Dr. Beers does a good job in my opinion of staying true to the meta-narrative of the Bible.  He does not, to my recollection ask questions like “How should behave based on this story?”  Instead he asks, “Would you give thanks to God?”  Rarely, if ever, did I find myself cringing at Dr. Beers choice of toddler friendly wording.

The artwork is top notched as well.  I found that the artwork struck a good balance between assisting in telling the story without overshadowing the words themselves.  Occasionally, I even noticed that artwork portrayed additional elements of the story not included in the Bible itself – thus giving parents a chance to expand on what is included in the Toddler’s Bible.

The stories are short.  Your toddler will not get lost or bored as you read through an individual story.  To the contrary, they are much more likely to ask for you to read additional stories.

What My Four Year Old Liked About The Book

With books like this, I like to run them by my own children to get their opinions.  My four year didn’t have a lot to say, but overall had a very positive reaction to the book.  Recently, he has only like me to “read” him books on the iPad, and he was a little bit disappointed that we were going to be reading an “old paper book.”  But, after 10-15 stories, I finally had to cut him off and send him to bed.  He spent 30-45 minutes the next day just flipping through the book by himself and looking at the pictures.  Another true testament to the artwork is that he was able to identify exactly what many of the stories were just based on the art.

What I Didn’t Like About The Book

There wasn’t much to be honest.  The words in the book are set against the artwork.  Occasionally, where the artwork was particularly dark, that made the words difficult (but not impossible to read).  Overall though, it was worth it because the artwork is a major selling point of this work.

Every once in a while, I noticed something in the artwork that just didn’t make sense.  For example, there is a bunny peaking up from behind a rock in one of the stories about Jesus.  He was cure, mind you, but it just seemed out of place.  Again, this wasn’t very frequent and didn’t detract from the book, but when you’re stretching to come up with “what I didn’t like about the book,” this type of thing makes the list.

My Recommendation

I would, without hesitation, recommend this book to anyone who has a toddler, works with toddlers or knows a toddler.  This book will be an asset to parents who want to instill a solid biblical foundation in their young children as well as the children’s church workers who wants to incorporate stories into their weekly time with young children.  The pictures and the words will captivate most children and should instill in them, from a very early age, an appreciation for and love of God’s Word.

I was provided with a free copy of this book for purposes of this review.  While I do certainly appreciate the free copy, it did not in any way influence the contents of this review.

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