Book Review: Bible Stories that End with a Hug!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I received this book from the kind people at Tyndale House Publishers months ago (life happens) and was asked to review it on my blog*. I was incredibly flattered, to say the least; I've never been asked to review anything before!

The Basics

Bible Stories that End with a Hug! by Stephen Elkins is a beautiful, 160-page book filled with 75 easy-to-understand stories from the Bible. At first glance, you immediately notice the sweet illustrations of adorable, almost "Precious Moments-ish", children dressed as various Bible characters acting out their stories. Each page contains a Bible story, a simplified memory verse, application, and, as the title implies, a "hug prompt".

What I Loved About It

Simon Taylor-Kielty did a marvelous job illustrating this book. I found the children to be charming and wonderfully sweet. But it was the content, more importantly, that I had to be super critical about. Sound doctrine, whether it be in a children's book or hermeneutics text, is key. Both my husband and I scoured this book cover to cover and were pleased to find it, for the most part, theologically sound. I was pleased to see the words "repent" and "sin", as most Christian authors are too cowardice to talk about either. The gospel portion of this book is, for the most part, there; we're sinners, Jesus died for those sins, we need to repent and trust (they say "accept Him" in Him in order to receive His gift of salvation. The "vitals" are mostly present.
I also liked the interaction. During each lesson, questions are asked (i.e. "What lesson was Jesus teaching?") to help children grasp the concepts and jumpstart deeper conversations. The included Bible verses are a great introduction to memorization; although I don't care for the liberal translation that they chose, but I can understand why, considering the age group that the book is geared towards.

When I read a story from the book to my boys (age 3 and 5), they enjoyed the pictures, the story, and the hug at the end (both of them had a huge smile on their face when it came time for the hug). I do feel, however, this was a little "young" for my 5-year-old, but he is not a typical 5-year-old, so your results may vary.

What I Didn't Love About It

First of all, I want to say that I realize this is not a Bible. Parents should keep that in mind, too. It's merely a book that contains snippets of Bible stories geared towards young children. But it is vital to be very discerning about what our children read, watch, and are taught concerning spiritual things in order lay a strong foundation to achieve growth and deeper understanding. This is my personal view, of course.

I did not care for the fact that while they did include the Last Supper and the Resurrection, they failed to include the most important part: the Cross. What is our faith without the cross? Nothing! This deeply bothered me for awhile (might have been my unconscious reasoning behind delaying this review), but when I dove into the book once more, I realized that it, as I said, is geared towards YOUNG children; the crucifixion of Christ is not an easy, nor "sanitized" thing to try to explain to our little ones without being a little graphic. It's gruesome and sad, but oh-so vital to the gospel. It IS the gospel! So, I suppose I still have mixed feelings. Sound doctrine vs. audience.

I also did not like the "canned" prayer at the end. Again, I understand the audience and the intention behind it. It's merely and introduction to prayer. But, I do not agree with the ever-popular assumption that our kids are saved. It does nothing but create false converts. Our boys know that they are sinners (gasp!) that need a savior and someday, if God calls them to faith and repentance, they will then be saved. It is not assumed or taken for granted. I think that is crucial to understand and explain to our children in order to promote true faith.

To Sum It Up

This book is incredibly sweet and well put together. The author did a great job in simplifying the stories in order for them to be easily understood by the young audience. And I can't rave more about the illustrations; they're just too adorable! However, it was not a book that I would have personally chosen and purchased. Besides that it's a little young for my crew, there were just too many "holes" for my liking. However, I feel it would make a fantastic baby shower gift, which is exactly where these books are going.

*I was given no compensation for my review. All views and opinions are solely my own. It was a pleasure writing this review, but I assume it will be my last, as I don't share the same views as mainstream Christianity (darn my reformed, fundamentalist self). A huge thank you to Tyndale for allowing me this opportunity.

Drew's Kitten

Monday, April 22, 2013

No, we didn't get another animal. Drew LOVES kitties, so I decided to use this pattern (had to run it through Google Translate in order to read it first, though) and make him one. Can't wait to give it to him after naptime!

Update: I think he likes it. =) Made my day!

Little Star Afghan & Matching Girl Bunny

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I made this for a long-time friend, who welcomed their fourth child (finally a girl!) last week. Unfortunately, I did not get it to them before she was born, which was my plan, but life, as it does, got hectic. Better late than never, right? That's become my life motto, it seems.

Congratulations to the Bateman family on their beautiful baby girl!

Be ready for a flood of baby gifts in the coming weeks. Lots of babies being born as of late!

Other Stripy Giraffe

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Now that is out of the bag, I can post about him!

This was the first version of the stripy giraffe as a commission from a friend, who is expecting her very first grandbaby at the end of the month. It's meant to match (more like compliment) a quilt the new grandma is making for baby.

I realized during my second giraffe that somehow I made the ears too big on this one, but I think it adds to his character.

Stripy Giraffe

Is he adorable?! I just love him! Designer Emma Dent of I Love Buttons was kind enough to sketch out her pattern for me, despite battling morning sickness (her, not me!). I whipped up this little guy and now he's going to live on my shelf in my craft room. Why not, right? I see all these cute things I can make, but have no reason to make them or I can't sell them, so why not make my own little collection of favorites? It might help put a dent in my ever-growing stash, which makes Blue Knight happy.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Played with a Twister game this afternoon. I taught Rob how to really play (which was highly entertaining to watch), but I used it to teach Drew colors (i.e. hop to green...hop to blue). Then Drew had to copy brother and show off his best Twister pose.

These are blurry because I was laughing so hard.

It Is Finished

It Is Finished - Twin Falls, Idaho - 2013

"When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
- John 19:30

Zaycon Foods

I couldn't recommend Zaycon Foods more. We have purchased chicken breasts from them twice now for only $1.79/lb and the are delicious - and HUGE! You definitely get your money's worth! I'm curious to try their other products, but if their chicken is any indication, I'm sure the rest is amazing, too.

Sign up and take advantage of a great opportunity!

Drew's Birthday

Monday, April 1, 2013

After a great week of visiting with Matt's folks and doing my sister-in-law's senior photos, we said good-bye to them on Saturday morning and proceeded to celebrate Drew's birthday. I can't believe this little guy is THREE!

To start things off, we received a package from Grandma Kathy and Grandpa Roger. It was a brand new tricycle! (We had wanted to get it for him, but couldn't afford it.) So, we took off for Walmart to pick out a helmet; Drew picked out a Hot Wheels one, of course. Then we loaded up the truck (Charlotte included) and headed down to the school down the way and let the boys ride their bikes. This was Drew's first time on a bike, so teaching him how to pedal was an interesting experience. But he's slowly getting it. Just needs to work those muscles!

More after the jump...