If you’re looking for a way to share Bible stories with your four-to-eight year-old, the Read and Share Bible: More than 200 Best-loved Bible Stories may be just the book for you. It contains over 200 Bible stories retold by “Read and Share” best-selling author Gwen Ellis. It’s also a visual delight with over 400 colorful illustrations by U.K. artist Steve Smallman.
Each titled and illustrated story consists of a mere two-page spread, perfect for the short attention span of little people. Each story’s Bible reference is noted just under the title, making it easy for adult readers to find the complete story in a regular Bible should they want to.
Text in a box at the bottom right-hand page of each two-page segment serves a variety of purposes. For example, sometimes it entices the reader/listener on to the next segment. After Moses gets his assignment at the burning bush we read: “Whenever God asks us to do hard things, He will help us. Let’s see how He helped Moses” – p. 109. At other times it suggests an application. Below the story of David killing the giant we read: “David was brave and he trusted God. God will help us in scary times if we ask Him” – p. 203. At still other times it serves to stimulate discussion. Below the story of Jesus’ birth we read: “Why do you think God would want His son to be born where animals were kept?”- p. 301.
This Bible also contains a gift-inscription page and a “Tips” page with four ideas on how to use the book. The Table of Contents includes each story’s title and Bible reference. The stories follow the chronology of the Bible with all the stories about each character grouped together under the character’s name.
The book’s sturdy hardcover binding and good quality glossy paper make it one that will stand up under hours of use by little hands.
I like the author’s to-the-point style. Though each entry is short (under 100 words) the telling is clear and vivid. The scope of the book is interesting with stories of lesser-known Bible characters (like Balaam and Deborah) sprinkled amongst the usual Bible story fare. The discussion bits are written in a warm, friendly tone that invites participation. Read the story of Noah as a sample.
This book would be a wonderful addition to any home, preschool, kindergarten, early elementary school, or church library. It could be used as a book for adults to read to youngsters or for beginning readers to read themselves. If there is a little person in your life who needs a first Bible, the Read and Share Bible would be an excellent choice.