To be honest, I was slightly nervous about this book. We use the KJV bible. Zondervan is known as a distributor of the NIV bible. I am not going to expound on my reasons here, other than to let you know I was a little bit nervous about how some stories would be told. So you don't skip out on reading, I'd also like to let you know that this book turned out to be better than I expected!
What is The Beginner's Bible?This bible is a hardcover book with bright graphics on every page. It is the perfect size for a young child to read. The book suggests it's for 4-8 year olds and the website suggests ages 6 and under. My kindergarten daughter read this the most, and claimed it as her book as soon as we opened the package it arrived in! My 3rd and 6th graders have also been reading this regularly, to their younger sister (much to my delight!)
The book begins with a table of contents, one page for Old Testament stories and one page for New Testament stories.
The stories are presented as a large picture with a small amount of text in a large font. This book is great for young readers because there isn't much to overwhelm them on each page. The stories are short, just a few pages or so each. They are a perfect length for toddlers, young children, and beginning readers.
Throughout the book you'll notice some words in italics. These words are presented in a dictionary in the back.
The Beginner's Bible website for has other purchase options, you can find editions with narration and videos to go along with the book. There are downloadable items too such as coloring and activity pages, trivia cards, snack ideas, and more!
Will we continue to use this book?Have you ever noticed how young children take things very literally? It's normal and the way the brain develops. Most of the stories in this version of the bible work exactly like that, things are very literal. For example, in the garden of Eden, the serpent is a snake, just as stated in Genesis.
Anyone reading the full bible text for the first time would find the same thing. It takes time to develop a deeper understanding of scripture.
The stories in this book are simplified versions of scripture text, taking the words of the bible and making them easy for small children to understand. There are no Greek or Hebrew translations, only simplification. Because we talk about scripture stories frequently and read scriptures often as a family I know that my children are developing a more complete understanding as they listen to our testimonies and lessons, despite any literal translations.
I do appreciate how simple the wording is, it's hard to miss the point when it's said so clearly, as in Goliath's words above.
Interestingly enough, the one thing about this book that bothered my youngest was the pictures. She's used to seeing paintings or more realistic images of bible stories. These images are cartoons. However, the simplicity of the images also helped her follow along. The first set of stories I read to her were about the birth of Christ. She kept looking for Mary, pictured in a blue dress. That blue dress helped identify her in many stories. So the pictures turned out to be helpful too.
I was quite happy to see that in the story of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus the presence of all three members of the Godhead are accounted for.
The KJV bible will always be our main text, everyone still reads from it together as a family every day (yes, even the youngest). But I'm pleased with The Beginner's Bible, the stories are short, engaging, and easy to understand. The basics of each story are included, and the stories leave you with a good feeling. It's exactly how reading the scriptures should feel, and that's a wonderful feeling to instill in young children as they develop their own habits of daily study.