Friday, April 4, 2014

My Bedtime Story Bible By Jean E. Syswerda, Illustrated by Daniel Howarth

My Bedtime Story Bible By Jean E. Syswerda, Illustrated by Daniel Haworth, is a new bedtime themed book of short bible stories written especially for young children.  Vibrant, colorful art, featuring well known bible characters and heroes such as King David, Daniel, Noah, Paul and Jesus, reinforce bible themes in a bedtime story setting.  The bright illustrations, and the cozy nighttime theme will appeal to young children and are perfectly suited for a bedtime storybook.  This small sized book, with its short, comforting and happy stories are the perfect bedtime story for young boys and girls, preschool aged and younger.

 Unlike a typical bible storybook, the purpose of these stories is not necessarily to convey biblical truth but rather to introduce well known bible characters  in a simplified story.  This book would make a good first introduction to popular bible stories for children unfamiliar with the bible.  The particular stories in this book are not necessarily accurate but rather are simplified and adapted into a sanitized, happy  bedtime story.  For example, the story about Noah and Noah's ark features a cozy candle lit bedroom, and cozy cabin like quarters where Noah peacefully relaxes as he feeds the cute, fluffy animals. I'm sure this depiction is far removed from the actual reality of life on Noah's ark.  Nor is the account of the flood included either as the story begins with a quaint comforting cabin scene on the ark once they are safely drifting. The account of Naomi and Ruth is portrayed as if it were a sleepover with the peaceful serene nighttime scene and sleeping bags, and a simple wholesome meal of cheese and bread on a night table next to cozy  sleeping bags.  The sheep shepherds on the evening of Jesus' birth is reminiscent of a cozy campsite.  Rather than depicting the exhausted, ragged, cold shepherds- it looks as if the angels proclaiming the good news just arrived on the scene of a summer camp out.  These depictions are perfect for a bedtime story book, but are not close to accurate in terms of the actual biblical account.  Nevertheless as a simple book of bedtime stories, which happens to feature bible characters, then there would be no expectation of biblical accuracy.  I do not believe the title of this book accurately conveys the content.  The title implies this is a story bible.  It might be more accurate to rename this book My Book of Bedtime Bible Stories to focus on the fact this is a collection of stories rather than a "bible".  This is a good choice for a casual, lighthearted bedtime book.  But for parents looking for a true book of bible stories, this is not the best choice as I believe parents looking for actual bible stories will be disappointed.  These bible stories are overly simplified and far removed from their actual bible counterparts.  Parents who are avid bible readers are most likely to focus more on what is missing from these stories and how  they differ from the bible account. These simple stories could also be used as a springboard for a discussion of the bible account. I can imagine the lively discussions that could be started with older children contrasting the actual bible accounts with these stories.  As a blogger for Booklook bloggers I received this book published by Zondervan for the purpose of writing this review. 

Children's Bible Directory

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