My kids and I love starting our home school day snuggling on the couch reading The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The kids thoroughly enjoy the stories and illustrations and I appreciate the personal tone and tenderness with which these stories are told.
The Jesus Storybook Bible ties Old Testament stories to Jesus Christ, making Jesus the center of every story. This book brings Bible stories to life and is very readable and enjoyable for adults and children alike.
I was wary of this book at first because these stories are re-told in a picture-book format in modern language with some liberties taken in adding details. And, yes, the author does add details that are not in Scripture. The illustrations are “cartoonish” (Goliath is huge like what you would expect in a fairy-tale, the animals are all stuffed into Noah’s boat, etc.)
If you use this book, you may want to reinforce that these stories are not just enjoyable fantasies, but true stories of real people who lived a long time ago. If you want perfect Bible accuracy, you really need to read the stories straight from the Bible.
For young children, though, there may be some merit in getting them interested in the Bible stories so that they will want to read the stories from the Bible for themselves as they get older. The discrepancies are also something that can spark conversations as the kids get older and can understand the concepts. (For example, the book shows Goliath lying face up after being killed by David. What does the Bible say? Why is it important that Goliath fell face down and not face up? This became an interesting discussion in our household.)
Unlike many other picture Bible books, The Jesus Storybook Bible has enough detail to continue to interest elementary-aged kids. While this is a picture story book, the content may be a little difficult for kids less than five years old to really grasp.
“But Joseph looked at his brothers and his eyes filled with tears. Even though his brothers had hurt him and hated him and wanted him dead – in spite of everything – he couldn’t stop loving them.
His heart, which they had broken, filled up with love, and Joseph forgave them.
Joseph threw his arms around them. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Behind what you were doing, underneath everything that was happening, God was doing something good. God was making everything right again.” Joseph didn’t punish them, he rescued them – he brought God’s special family to live safely with him in Egypt.
One day, God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break. Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his Father. His brothers would hate him and want him dead. He would be sold for pieces of silver. He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong.
But God would use everything that happened to this young Prince – even the bad things – to do something good: to forgive the sins of the whole world.”
Taken from by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jago, Zonderkidz, © 2007 by Zondervan, pgs. 82 and 83.