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Book Review: 101 Bible Adventures

101 Bible Adventures: The Ultimate Quest for Truth!
by Carolyn Larsen is a collection of Bible stories from the New Living Translation of the Bible.

I just got this book in the mail a few days ago, and it has already made some rounds through my school-age readers.  They love it when books come that are written to their age level.  Let's face it, though, there are MANY books out there that are collections of Bible stories.  What sets this one apart?

The feature about this book that literally caused me to pause and say, "Wow" was that it is not merely a retelling of scripture, but is word-for-word Scripture.  The author begins with the New Living Translation, which is easy-to-read in today's English.  Next, she condensed the text to further aid the target audience.  For example, the following is the NLT text for 2 Kings 11:1-2
"When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of the royal family.  But Ahaziah's sister Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah's infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king's children, who were about to be killed.  She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah, so the child was not murdered."
101 Bible Adventures condenses the text to read:
"When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of the royal family.  But Ahaziah's sister took Ahaziah's infant son, Joash, away from the rest of the king's children, who were about to be killed.  She put Joash in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah."
Each story includes a section with background information (which provides setting and context), a "Key Verse" for memorization, and a "Now What?" section for application.  The book does not have full-color pictures inside that will captivate younger children's attention.  It does have character cartoons for each story that will appeal to kids old enough to read on their own (suggested 7 and up, but Joshua at age 6 can read it).

Personally, I am a fan of books like this that help bridge the gap to help children graduate from reading Bible picture books to actually digesting Scripture.  And while it is not a homeschool "curriculum", it would certainly adapt well as a Bible curriculum, especially if your family enjoys the New Living Translation.  On the other hand, children this age are incredibly impressionable.  They are thinking and absorbing so much.  It is time to sharpen up on your theology.  I have read some Bible storybooks where the stories are retold in a way that uses soft theology or even sways the story by adding (or omitting) details to the original text.  The mere fact that someone picks and chooses only certain Bible stories to retell means that the person has at least some control of what the final presentation looks like.  In this book, Carolyn Larsen has condensed the Scripture to retell each story, but (as you can see from the one example above) she is merely eliminating details that may cause a young brain (or even my old brain) to scatter and wander.  It brings the story focus, and keeps the truth.  Larsen has taken the opportunity to use the "Now What" section to tie in the big picture of the Gospel right from the beginning.  For me, this is an essential element that I look for in a good book.  One of the first things I did was flip to the back of the book to the stories telling of Jesus' death and resurrection and the early church.  I read through the "Now What" sections looking for any details that may tell my child how or why to become saved.  At first, it appeared that I wouldn't find what I was looking for.  Disappointed, I flipped to Genesis.  There it was.  With the telling of Adam and Eve's sin, came the Gospel.  Right at the beginning, exactly where it was needed.  We need a Savior and here's why and here is where you can find Him. 

How about you?  How could you use a resource like this in your home?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers.  I was not required to write a positive review, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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