When we were given a copy of The Beginner’s Bible by Zonderkidz to review. I had seen young kids at church carrying similar Bibles—they certainly seem to be a popular choice! But I hadn’t ever read the stories myself.
I have to say I’m impressed! We have a number of other children’s Bibles, (including one that makes me cry every time I read it). But The Beginner’s Bible stands out because of how very accessible it is to young ones. My five-year-old boy can almost read the text himself, and the stories are generally short enough that–once he gains confidence–he will be able to complete a story or two in one setting.
The stories are brief but touch the high points and most important parts of the stories. Sometimes, sentences in early readers feel disjointed and choppy, but The Beginner’s Bible—while not eloquent poetry—flows pretty fluidly. It certainly isn’t painful for me to read!
The Beginner’s Bible has more than 90 Bible stories, with about half coming from the Old Testament and half from the New. There is a clear table of contents at the beginning that makes it easy to use as a reference—we’ve used the contents nearly daily when my children request to hear a certain story. The titles of each story give enough information to make it easy for me to find the story we want to read.
This new printing of The Beginner’s Bible has what the publisher calls “three-dimensional art.” The art does look less flat than it does in the older versions (you can check out comparisons on The Beginner’s Bible website). It reminds me a little bit of claymation; it wouldn’t be hard to imagine seeing these characters moving on the television screen. The art itself looks as though it is the same pictures from the old version, only modernized and stylized. I absolutely love the expressions on the faces of the characters drawn in the Bible. When they’re happy, they’re *really* happy.
Overall, we are super pleased with The Beginner’s Bible. My children ask for stories from it again and again (something they haven’t done with the other children’s Bibles we’ve had). I have been impressed with the simplicity and accessibility of the stories, the cute art, and especially with the fact that my kids keep returning to it.
There are a few shortcomings that we’ve noticed: I wish that this Bible had a ribbon bookmark, like many adult Bibles do. Last night, we read the story of Moses and the Burning Bush, and I’d love to stick a ribbon in our spot to hold it. Obviously, this is a minor complaint, and an easy thing to take care of ourselves. :)
I also wish the characters presented were more representative of Middle Eastern skin tones. While some of the characters do seem like they could come from that part of the world, many look like bearded Caucasian Americans in tunics. On the other hand, perhaps this makes the characters more relatable to the average middle class American child; it certainly won’t keep us from reading and enjoying the text.
If you’re looking for a Bible that is accessible to early readers or to kids who need a high picture to word ratio, The Beginner’s Bible fits the bill! It would be a good fit for most families.
You can find more reviews about The Beginner’s Bible on the Homeschool Review Crew site.