Children's Bibles



I wrote a post about children's bibles in 2008, but we keep discovering more bible storybooks for children, and so I have now created this updated page as a more up-to-date reference.  

There are so many bible storybooks available for children, and of very varying quality.   Sadly, we have found that most bibles for very young children are very average, as they exclude key parts of accounts, or just ignore them. Now as I shop for bibles I have a mental checklist of things I really would like them to include, they include:
  • Genesis 3 - the account of sin. So many ignore this. How can we possibly teach children of their need for a Saviour unless they know that the world needs saving?
  • Abraham and God's promises to him (Genesis 12ff). I am amazed at how many bibles go from Noah straight to the story of Joseph and his coloured coat, skipping over one of the key promises God makes.
  • Some Psalms or Proverbs.
  • Some prophecy.
  • Some details post-ascension: the coming of the Holy Spirit, the growth of the Early Church, Paul and his letters, Revelation.
  • In more detailed bibles, it's good to to check whether the stories are included accurately.  eg. including the account of the plant in Jonah 4, rather than finishing with Jonah saying yes and going to Ninevah.  Or perhaps the details of the flood, or the details of the promise to Abraham.

Here are some of the better bibles we have come across:
  • The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers (L. J. Sattgast, ill. Toni Goffe).  The same duo as those who wrote The Rhyme Bible (see below) have created a simplified version for toddlers. Great for 2-4 year olds. Our 3 year old loves this one.



  •  The Beginner's Bible (Candle Books). Our 3 year old really likes this one, the stories are more detailed, and she can follow them, the pictures are engaging (although not entirely realistic - how often do fish smile happily when they are caught?). We have used this one from ages 3-5.

  • The Rhyme Bible (L. J. Sattgast, ill. Toni Goffe) We love rhyme in our house, so The Rhyme Bible has been a winner. I am very impressed at how Stattgast has turned the bible accounts into rhyme, still keeping the accounts quite accurate. It's a fun change between reading other bibles. Good for 3-5 year olds.


  • My First Bible (ill. Andrew Gleeson and Sophie Keen; Parragon).  Appropriate for ages 4-6.  The illustrations are less engaging and colourful, but the stories themselves are good and quite detailed.
 

  • First Bible Stories (adapted by Jillian Harker and Michael Phipps, ill. by John Dillow) We gave this to Z on the day she started school, continuing a tradition we started with M. It is great, very appropriate for age 4 onwards. I was impressed with the way the stories were explained, grabbing the salient points with age appropriate language. Only one quibble (and if it's only one it's a good bible!). In the account where Jesus changes the water to wine - Mary tells him the wine has run out, then "Nervously, Jesus began to speak, 'It is not yet my time...' ". I doubt nerves were the issue.


  • The Lion Day-by-Day Bible (Mary Joslin, ill. Amanda Hall) Appropriate for 5-8 years.  Divided into daily readings, this bible covers a lot of material that many other children's bibles never go near. We are still reading it through, so I can't give a complete review - but so far, very happy with it (although the prayers on each page are pretty bad).
 




  • The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm, ill. Gail Schoonmaker). This is a great bible for the 4-7 age group. It is one of the few children's bibles which really pushes the idea of Biblical Theology - that there is one unifying theme through the whole of the bible, God's people under God's rule in God's place. Our children love it - the illustrations are vivid and often from odd angles, which they enjoy. The individual story units are sometimes very long, so we split them at times. 

  • The Jesus Story Book Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Sally Lloyd-Jones, ill. Jago).  Appropriate for 5-8 years.   This one is excellent.  It shows  in each account to how Jesus will or does fulfill each part of the bible, Old or New Testament (although sometimes these links are over-stretched). The illustrations are engaging and enjoyable. It does not shy away from some details and some emotion. I think this is the only Bible that made my son (age 5 at the time) actually pause and realise that what happened to Jesus on the cross was truly awful and very sad.


For more suggestions, see Jean's review here.