As the new year begins, many of us are renewing our commitment to read the Bible daily with our children and this revised edition of The Beginner’s Bible by Zonderkidz may be just the thing if your family includes a young child.
I would be surprised if we didn’t all know about The Beginner’s Bible, since it has been around for quite a few years – since 1989. Having sold over 25 million copies, Zonderkidz felt that it was time to update the images in this version. (Zonderkidz is the children’s division of the well-known company Zondervan. They have produced quality literature for children under age 12 for many years.)
The Beginner’s Bible is celebrating 25 years as a leading storybook Bible for young children. The targeted age range is shown on the back of the book as ages 4-8; their website states ages 6 & under. This storybook Bible is full of large, colorful drawings. These drawings are coupled with short, simple sentences that tell the Bible story. Each story is only a few pages long and should keep the child’s attention easily.
The Beginner’s Bible retells stories from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. There are 48 Old Testament stories and 45 New Testament stories. There is a story from most of the books of the Old Testament, though not all are represented in The Beginner’s Bible. Much of the New Testament is not represented at all with the stories focusing on the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the book of Acts, and then a few verses from Revelation.
A neat addition to this bible is the dictionary at the back. Throughout the stories, an italicized word indicates that it is included in the dictionary. This is a great idea to get children learning how to find meanings and use dictionaries but I do wish it had been included in a way that was easier to find. There is no mention of it in the Contents listing so until we went through the whole thing, we didn’t know it was there. Perhaps including it in the listing or placing it up front would make it a more helpful addition.
Reasons to really like The Beginner’s Bible:
- lots of white space makes the art work really stand out and draw in a child’s attention
- simple words and sentences make the stories easy for a child to understand
- chosen stories from the Bible are full of action and/or interesting bits that a child is likely to remember
- stories that the child is probably familiar with help them remember
- vivid art work is fun
- while our youngest is reading well above the level this is written at, it provided for some excellent discussions about the detail not included in the storybook format and helped the girls (all three – ages 12, 10, 7) work on memory and recall
Things that did not resonate with our family:
- there was so much of the Bible that was left out of this storybook version (necessary but still something we felt left a great hole)
- while the art work is vivid and colorful, the eyes of the characters were a bit disconcerting to some of us; we felt like they were popping out of the character’s heads
- we really missed having selections from Psalm and Proverbs (there was only the 23rd Psalm)
- finding a particular story was difficult because they are not in the same order as a complete Bible and the titles of the stories are not always descriptive enough (ex – The Brave Queen did not immediately call Esther to mind for me.)
Don’t leave just yet – The Beginner’s Bible has a fantastic website. You will find so much there to enhance the learning of the Bible and bring it to life. From printable coloring sheets for the stories to writing activities to mazes and puzzles – all of these are free on their website and easy to download and print.
While this Bible is not age appropriate for our family, it is the perfect for children who are just beginning to read, who enjoy being read to, or who like to look at colorful, fun pictures and perhaps tell the story themselves. The Beginner’s Bible from Zonderkidz would make a great gift or starter Bible for any child.
Read reviews from 80 families who took a look at The Beginnner’s Bible by clicking on the banner below.
Find Zonderkids on social media: