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MTD

for a New
Generation

Candle Bible for Kids:


Board Book
By Juli et David.
Illustrated by Jo Parry.
Candle Books. Pp. 42. $9.99

Childrens Bibles neednt


reduce faith to pabulum.

Candle Bible for Kids:


Toddler Edition

Review by Jon and Hollie Adamson

Candle Books. Pp. 160. $9.99

By Juli et David.
Illustrated by Jo Parry.

ne of the small, daily joys of Christian parents is to


present the gospel to their children in storytelling. It
is a precious ritual of word and deed, since storytelling to children often has active, multisensory components.
The words on the page, the images that surround them, the
nearness of the bodies of the reader and the children, and the
cues of light at various times in the day all make for a profound experience. With this in mind, choosing quality Bible
stories is a fitting task for parents to take on, so that there is
harmony between what children experience at home and at
church as they are being built into the image of Jesus Christ.
Given all of this formative richness, it is regrettable that
some publishers take unnecessary liberties when developing
the texts of their childrens Bibles. Take, for example, the
Candle Bible for Kids: Board Book, which leaves out key
Christian concepts or soft-pedals them. There is no mention
of the Fall, it is unclear why the Flood comes, and Mary is
given a special baby with no mention of his being Gods
Son. Most egregious of all is its handling of the Passion. Immediately after the Triumphal Entry, it moves abruptly: But
bad men left Jesus to die on a wooden cross. It is as if the editors believe that children can only handle a nice/mean dichotomy or that children have never worshiped in a space
with a crucifix or window depicting the fullness of the faith.
The Candle Bible for Kids: Toddler Edition continues in
this vein. It adds a number of stories typical to a childrens
Bible (Jericho, Elijah and the ravens, and Jonah) and some
that are atypical (the calling of Matthew). Yet one of the central lessons of the Jonah story is left out. Jonah is merely
running away. There is no mention of Ninevah, repentance,
or Gods mercy. Once again, Jesus is not presented as Gods
Son at the Annunciation. One can only infer that basic identity in the Ascension story. Children are capable of robust

Candle Day
by Day Bible
By Juli et David.
Illustrated by Jane Heyes.
Candle Books. Pp. 400. $16.99

Bible and Prayers


for Teddy and Me
Adapted by Chri stin a Goodin gs.
Illustrated by Jane t Samuel.
Lion Childrens. Pp. 64. $12.99

The Lion Bible


to Keep For Ever
By Loi s Rock.
Illustrated by S op hie Allsop p.
Lion Childrens. Pp. 320. $17.99

(Continued on next page)

February 22, 2015 THE LIVING CHURCH 21

BOOKS

MTD for a New Generation


(Continued from previous page)

N .T.W R I G H T

FO LLOWI N G
JESUS
Biblical Reflections
on Discipleship

THOFI S N E W E D I T I O N

N. T. Wrights popular Following Jesus includes a


new preface in which Wright
reflects on the books origin,
personal significance, and continued relevance for believers
today.
A beautiful meditative work
on Christian discipleship.
LAWRENCE CUNNINGHAM
in America

A book to be read, reread,


pondered, and lived.
Christian Library Journal
ISBN 978-0-8028-7120-6
138 pages paperback $14.00
At your bookstore,
or call 800-253-7521
www.eerdmans.com
4076

22 THE LIVING CHURCH February 22, 2015

Christology. It is a shame to see Jesus


primarily presented as a nice guy.
Elementary-age children are the
target audience for the Candle Day
by Day Bible. It offers 365 readings
that are simple retellings of Bible stories. A sidebar on each page gives a
short Bible verse or discussion question. There is a better sense of basic
Christian faith, but it is presented unevenly. Some stories are included
that do not typically make it into childrens Bibles, like Hagar and Ishmael,
David and Mephibosheth, or Peter
and Cornelius. But this is muted by
bizarre liberties taken with the text,
like Adam and Eve naming the animals together, Jesus only imagining
the Temptations in the Desert, or
Mary having no role in the Wedding
at Cana. Once again, there is almost
no mention of Jesus identity as
Gods Son, though it does appear in
one of the sidebar comments (The
Son of God was born in a borrowed
stable) and in the Centurions identification at the Cross. The lack of
even a single story from Revelation
gives this 365-day book an incomplete feeling.

ible and Prayers for Teddy and


Me is an improvement compared
to the Candle Bible series. The Jonah
story is handled more completely. It
includes the traditional wording of
the Our Father. The Parable of the
Sower is a welcome inclusion. Also,
the Prodigal Son actually shows contrition in this retelling. A short poemprayer appears after each story.
Short and rhyming, each prayer reinforces the story and presents opportunities for applying the storys
lesson. Sadly, both Creation and
Christology are short-changed. There
is no mention of the Fall and Jesus is
not presented explicitly as Gods Son,
which spoils an otherwise worthy
book.
The Lion Bible to Keep For Ever is
the best of the lot. It starts off strong
with a poetic retelling of Genesis that

captures the parallelism of the days of


creation. This signals the books better grasp of both the spirit and the letter of the Scriptures. The Noah story
includes one detail that childrens
Bibles typically leave out: seven pairs
were kept of certain animal species
(a welcome departure from the typically cartoonish two-by-two approach). The Hebrew midwives in Exodus are singled out for their valor.
The prophet Amos has a story dedicated to him. The Annunciation is
fully told. The book is visually rich,
with two-page images periodically
spaced throughout and smaller illus-

Children
can do
better if
parents
are diligent
in their
vocation.
trations on single pages. It does not
end with Revelation, but it reaches
Pauls teaching that just as Jesus has
been raised we will be raised and that
one day Jesus will return.
Jesus asked: When the Son of Man
comes, will he find faith on earth?
According to several of these books,
he will find Moralistic Therapeutic
Deism. Children can do better if parents are diligent in their vocation.
Jon and Hollie Adamson are the
parents of two young boys and live
in Niles, Michigan.