A brief review.
Over the course of six years (the age of my oldest child) my wife and I have have purchased and perused many-a-Bible-storybook. We have consistently been let down. Many Bible storybooks alter the text of the Bible by interpreting the story, rather than telling the story. Many Bible storybooks have a baptist bent where each story is a moral lesson and an altar call to your kids. All that is missing is the flannel graph and anxious bench. And many Bible storybooks leave out about 85% of the Bible. Most Bible storybooks usually go like this: God made the world. Adam broke the world. Devil bad. Moses in Egypt. David fights Goliath. Jesus is born. Jesus dies. Jesus rises. The end of the world is tomorrow, repent kid.
However, with the Alfred Rex Story Book we were pleasantly surprised. The story of the text is told, and questions of the text are asked. The Alfred Rex Story Book doesn’t sugar coat much of anything and leaves interpretation up to the parents. Jael crushes Sisera’s head, no apologies. How many Bible storybooks do you own that even include the most blessed of women (Judges 5.24)?
Not only does this storybook include those bits of the righteous overcoming the wicked, it also includes every king in both Kingdoms, north and south. But wait, there’s more! Every single prophet is included and at no extra cost the back of the storybook includes wonderful timelines and charts and extended notes for you parents. My favorite chart being a timeline that incorporates the kings and prophets together. Do you know who was king in Israel and Judah when Ezekiel was active?
This storybook also keeps the attention of children while reading due to the plethora of pictures throughout the book, 270 to be exact. These pictures are accurate in many details. There are no large-headed cartoonish boy-David wrestling a larger-headed hairy Goliath. Nope, not at all. David cuts his wicked head off, and my kids loved it. And, amen.
This book is, by far, the best Bible storybook I have seen. Now let me hand out a couple cautions. I have two concerns with it, and only two! That’s pretty good for a Bible storybook. The first issue I have is that this book depicts God the Father in a handful of pictures. I am not against the depiction of the Son, for He indeed has a physical image to depict. Christians are not monophysites, and an artists’ rendition of Jesus should not trouble our conscience. I know that for some a picture of Jesus does toruble the conscience and that is well and good as far is it goes, but I am unwilling to make that binding on anyone. However, depicting the Father makes me all squirmy on the inside considering the Second Commandment and all that. So, I generally read these stories standing up so the kids don’t see, or as some folks I know of have taken artistic liberty to white wash those images altogether. Or you could just put a sticky note over it.
The second concern I have is the approbation of the Seder meal that comes relatively late in Judaism. The Seder meal and its practices comes after the destruction of the Temple in 70AD and plays absolutely no part in the Bible, let alone the Last Supper. However, this storybook incorporates aspects of the Seder meal into the Lord’s Supper, and I simply edit that out as I read. It is relatively easy to do so, especially if you are familiar with the Last Supper and the institution of the Lord’s Supper.