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140 of 141 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2005
Among chidlren's bibles, this one stands in a league all its own. Helm refuses to treat the bible as a collection of disconnected stories whose main purpose is to get kids to "be good little boys and girls". Instead He lets the bible be what it is meant to be: the unfolding and often messy story of the creator's plan to rescue this rebellious world and bring it back under the rule of it's rightful king. He masterfully pays attention to the details of the biblical narratives, but always connects it to God's promise to bring blessing to the world through Israel, and finally and completely through Jesus. He writes at a level that is simple and accessible to small children and yet theologically informed. The illustrations are done with excellence and in a way that is appealing to small children. My advice: Toss all your moralistic, theologcially weak children's bibles in the recycling bin and buy this one!
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80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2006
How does one start a review of a book like the Bible? How does one review a book written by one's pastor and friend? Well, I can tell you that I am unashamedly proud of this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to ALL.

First and most important of all, this is a very fair and generous rendering of the Bible. This book contains all the key episodes of the biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation (and more), as others have said. Second, it is a book that is easily and enthusiastically embraced by children. Third, while many children's Bibles, like much Sunday School curriculum, take a biblical story and apply it as a moral lesson, the art, language and layout of this book remarkably captures the THEOLOGY of the Bible in a Christ-centered, Gospel-centered, and redemptively-centered way which is such a much better way of teaching children the message of Scripture.

What's that mean? Well for classical Protestants and even Catholics, that's the way that the Church has read Scripture for thousands of years. In the Old Testament, the themes about God's people, God's covenant, God's King and Kingdom, (namely, God's plan of salvation for the world), emerge in a promisory, national, prophetic and shadowy way. In the New Testament the themes, promises, hopes and plans of God come to their climactic and glorious fulfillment in Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. This is how our Bible as a story fits together in a coherent and exciting whole.

Remember when you first really grasped that? For me it was as an adult. I looked back at my art work from Sunday School and found crosses glued together, pictures of Noah and the Arky and that sort of thing. Imagine for a moment what it would be like if we had learned at a young age to undestand the Bible as a story about God's plan of salvation, involving God's people, under God's king and how Noah, Abraham, Moses, Israel, David, the Prophets and all the rest fit into that wonderful plan!? And even more, how Jesus is the glorious Savior who brings all of God's purposes for humanity and the world to their proper end!?

What's so remarkable about this book is that the author (David Helm) and the illustrator (Gayle Schoonmaker) do an excellent job of using good language and good artistic perspective to grasp what the Bible is all about. There are repetitive kinds of pictures in the Bible, from a "God's eye view," when there are repetitive events in Scripture - like when the patriarchs enter and leave the land of Canaan, and when Israel enters and is expelled from the promised land, and when Jesus Christ enters and leaves Judah. As such, they are capturing artistically what is typologically happening as the narrative of Scripture unfolds. Another illustrative example would be the similarity in artistic rendering of the 12 children of Israel and the 12 apostles. Where we as adults have come to correctly understand links in the chain of God's redemptive purposes - these authors have created theologically accurate visual representations of these themes for children. It's remarkable! And what's more, the God's eye perspective really helps visually emphasize God's plan, design and reign over all these events.

And here's a little bonus. This book is great for adults too.

Five stars. There is no better resource for children available. Now if we can only see to it that it gets the widest possible distribution and acceptance.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2005
This God-centered story Bible brings out the unifying themes of scripture. One might call it Biblical Theology for Kids. The author presents the stories as moving toward the goal of redemptive history: God's people in God's place under God's rule. The influence of the biblical-theological of Grahme Goldsworthy is noted. I am using with my son David who is four. We can cover several sections each evening, allowing time to discuss the themes in each story. I have also read it two special education boys (3rd and 4th grades) who I work with. They can read along with only minimal help with words like sacrifice, Nicodemus and steadfast. Reading with the boys it took about ninety minutes to read straight through. This book is heavily illustrated and is primarily a retelling of the stories. It should not be confused with a Children's Bible. However, it is idea for a beginner's story Bible. The author has provided an essential overview of biblical history in story Bible format. This could be used as a primer and review during story time. Then after reading a story read a corresponding chapter during family devotions. It would also be useful for older children and adults who need to see the Big Picture of the Bible.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2006
This is, in many ways, the story bible I've been waiting for. If I could write a children's story bible, I would want this to be it. (For clarification, a story bible is a collection of bible stories for children too young to read an actual Bible translation.)

This book is incredible. It's mission is to tell the Bible story. Yep. The whole Bible as one story. All other children's story Bible's are a collection of Bible stories. Unfortunately with Sunday School being how it is, this is how most kids and grown ups learn their Bibles. Sure they learn about David & Goliath, and Abraham, and Noah, and Elijah, and Jesus. But they don't learn how they all fit together.

Finally, there is a Bible that tells God's story as one complete narrative. I was a little skeptical at first. I didn't know if this book could accomplish its mission. It did. And then some.

My oldest, Joel (age 4), loves reading this book. He has two other children's story bibles, but this has usurped them. When we first got it, we read over 150 pages. I had to insist that we take a break. He wanted to keep going!

This book does indeed have big, beautiful pictures. There are a just a few sentences on each page. But the point of this book is to teach children about God's plan of Salvation. And so it tells the Bible story as one big story!

It begins with creation and Adam and Eve. It explains how happy they were "in God's place." This is the only depiction of Adam and Eve I've ever seen that shows them happy! Instead of the standard picture of the two of them standing there covered by leaves....they're shown swimming! They actually look like they are enjoying themselves and each other.

After they sin, the book emphasizes that God sent them from God's place because they rejected God as king. It continues humanity's story, explaining how God's people continued to reject him as King and it transitions to Noah. It tells all the stories as one story. It continues to discuss these themes throughout: God's people rejecting God as King, God keeping his promise to return them to God's place and looking forward to God's forever king. In the Adam and Eve story it mentions God's word about how a descendent of Eve will crush Satan's head and get his heel bruised. But it explains it as a hint of God's forever king who is to come and save his people. Throughout the book, it asks questions like, "Would God's forever king come now?" It builds anticipation. This book also teaches. It is filled with questions.

I was so thrilled with this book. My four year old now asks theological questions about Jesus dying and sin etc... that I didn't think he would grasp yet.

This book does what no other children's book does. It tells the Bible as one story! It does many other things. It even includes the intertestamental period! I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful this book is.

I was so convicted by what it does, tells God's story as one story, and how well it does it, that I preached from it. Yep. (I'm a pastor.) I used this very book as my guide, and told the entire story to my congregation. It took me 4 weeks. You wouldn't believe the response I got. People would say how wonderful it was to finally see how everything fit together. And how helpful it was to see the Bible as God working out his plan. Then I would "confess" that it came from a children's story Bible. So I have grown ups now going out and buying copies for themselves and their grandchildren. My mom went and bought a copy for a middle-aged woman that she is mentoring in the faith. My own mother, who taught me about Jesus, told me that she had never seen how it all fit together before.

I'm really high on this book. I preached through it. I will be including an article on it in our next church newsletter. I'm telling everyone to buy it. (Six more copies of this book have already been bought because of me.)

Go buy it. Go buy several copies. I'm even recommending it to adults because it's a fun way to learn the whole Bible story.

We've read it through at our house dozens of times already, and it's become a pretty important part of my plan to teach my children about Jesus.

However, it shouldn't be your only children's story Bible. Because it's mission is to tell the whole story, much of it is like an overview. It doesn't have all the detail of each story. That's fine. It couldn't. But I think you ought to have other books where you can read about David, Moses, Noah, Elijah, Esther etc... with more detail. It would also help if you know the bible stories well yourself. This book leads to a lot of questions. It's pictures will contain some of the details, and so you as the parent, can and should fill in the details, at your child's level, as you go.

The only thing I noticed that could be done to improve this book would be to add scripture references. There are none. If there were scripture references it would be easier for parents who aren't all that familiar with their bibles to go and look up the story for themselves or for their children.

I wish I had the space (or you the attention span) to tell you more about this incredible book. As it contines the story, it reviews for the reader, where we've been. It keeps reminding us of God keeping his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Here are some excerpts to give you an idea:

Intertestamental period:

And the years turned into many years, and the many years turned into hundreds of years and the great promises of God seemed to fade away. Israel became less important in the world. Other nations became great - strong nations, powerful nations whose kings ruled over God's people...

God the world's true ruler, the king of the universe was getting ready to show everyone who great he was. God was going to end his many years of silence. God was going to keep his promise of a forever king.

(The picture shows an angel talking to a woman, but it doesn't mention that it is Mary.)

Jesus' birth:

God's forever king was born in a stable, a place for animals. His parents named him Jesus. They wrapped him up warmly and laid him in a manger. What a strange place for the Promised One! Who would have imagined it? While Caesar, the king of the Roman world, was showing everyone how great he was by counting all of his people. God, the king of the universe was showing the world how great he was by sending his Son into the world as one of his people. What a very big day! What God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David had arrived in the birth of Jesus!

In the chapter headings, it refers to Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection as the time that Jesus is crowned as king. It is very clear about the crucifixion and resurrection being part of God's plan from the beginning.

And then there's my favorite part:

After the Resurrection:

Jesus' followers could hardly believe it. "We have seen the Lord!" They were full of joy but they were not full of understanding. They could see Jesus with their eyes, but they could not see why he had to die and rise again. And so...Jesus opened up God's holy book that had been written long ago. He started with the books of Moses and then the Prophets and the Psalms. He showed them everything that was written there about him. In it were many word pictures that proved he must die to pay the penalty for sin. In it were many pictures that promised he would rise again. Jesus followers were amazed as they listened and as they read. Before they had said, "We have seen the Lord!" But now they could read God's holy book and say, "Even here, especially here, we have seen the Lord!" Jesus taught them carefully because he knew the day was coming when people would no longer see him with their eyes. They would read of him instead. He knew God's holy book would help others to believe and say, "We have seen the Lord!" And they too would be full of joy. Do you see the Lord? Painted on the pages of Israel's hard and happy history is the big picture of God's forever king."

This book is awesome! It should be an essential part of your toolbox for teaching your children about Jesus.
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121 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2009
I really, really wanted to like this children's Bible. After reading all of the good reviews, I was so excited to get it for my young son. And granted, he doesn't mind it (though he also seems to find the writing and pictures a bit dark; constantly pointing and saying "uh-oh!" as I read it because there were so many pictures of upset people.) AND I like how this Bible connects the Old Testament with the new. Explains how the New Covenant was revealed in the old. However . . . I wouldn't recommend this Bible to children. It omits too much of the main story of Jesus.

Anyway, on to why I don't recommend this Bible:
1)On only one page (p. 249) in the ENTIRE BIBLE does it list Mary and Joseph's name. Mary's twice. Joseph's once. It doesn't ever mention the Annunciation and it speaks of Mary and Joseph as Jesus' parents. Yes, Joseph was Jesus' earthly father but he was not his biological father. I don't know exactly how a Children's Bible might explain that Mary was a Virgin, etc. but this book doesn't ever state that GOD is Jesus' father. It specifically states, "God had told Mary and Joseph that their baby was the one promised long ago." It doesn't imply the mystery and miracle that Jesus' birth actually was.
2)It completely ignores most of the miracles of Jesus, including his first miracle at the wedding of Cana. The only miracles it touches upon is making the blind man see and raising Lazarus from the dead. What about the loaves and fishes? I know that was my favorite when I was a little girl.
3) It NEVER mentions the Last Supper. Ever.
4) It makes irrelevant statements and presuppositions about Pilate. Look, Pilate was not a nice guy, but, according to the Bible, he let the people decide and then physically washed his hands of it. Instead, this Bible states, "Pilate decided to have Jesus killed. He looked out only for himself." WHAT??!! Come on. And how come Pilate is discussed for several pages with several references to him, but yet Mary is only mentioned once? And the apostles aren't named ever (except a brief reference to Peter, Paul and John, by name, at the very end.) It doesn't seem like the right people are focused on.

For me, the focus of Christianity, and the Bible is the Trinity and how God fulfilled his promises to his people through Jesus, his son. I do like how this Bible expressly shows how Jesus fulfilled the promises of the Old Testament, however there is just too much of Jesus' life, miracles and teachings omitted in this Bible for me to use it often. I'm still on the lookout for the perfect children's Bible, but in the meantime we're enjoying reading "The Miracles of Jesus" by Tomie de Paola, "The Easter Story" by Patricia Pingry and "Beatitudes for Children" by Rosemarie Gortler, among others.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2006
As a Father, pastor and teacher of the Bible, one of the things I want my folks and family to always see is the big picture of Scripture. This is difficult when you are accustomed to plowing through the Bible one verse at a time. Sometimes we need to take a step back and examine the forest. There is a wonderful book for the five and under crowd that paints the "big picture" of Scripture better than any story Bible I have read. The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm with illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker is in a class all its own.

We have read many Bible books every morning at our breakfast table and The Big Picture stands out amongst them all. It captures the progressive story of redemption and remains Christ-centered throughout. The theme of the book is "God's people in God's place under God's rule." For adults this theme is related to the discipline of "Biblical Theology" which seeks to show that while Scripture contains sixty-six books, it is still one book with one central message. Grahme Goldsworthy is one theologian that has articulated this theme in his own books for "bigger people."

The illustrations are bold, colorful and eye-catching for young and old alike. I have found myself admiring the artwork while my son waits patiently for me to finish reading the story. The pages are large and easy on the eyes. One of the things I really enjoy about this work is that it opens the way for discussion in so many areas. Our three and a half year old loves it and has it essentially memorized. Though he can't read he can basically recite the story page by page. I can't recommend this wonderful work too much and I hope it will enjoy a wide readership amongst children who will grow up and one day follow the "Forever King."
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2005
This is the first story Bible I have seen that brings the whole Bible together into one "big story" instead of lots of separate ones. The theme of the kingship of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation was both refreshing and provocative. I was happy to see some key Bible verses paraphrased throughout. Although a few details of familiar Bible stories were left out, it did, in fact, really focus on the bigger message. As you move through this book, the spiritual themes become more complex. The spiritual depth of the lessons could be greater than the spiritual capacity of very young children, but the colorful and expressive illustrations are instructive on their own. I would sum up the "big picture" as One God, one promise maker and promise keeper, One King, One Sacrifice, One Savior. One great book!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2006
The title of this book is just that - a bible for kids that tells the big picture. From creation to revelation, it tells the story of God's plan of his kingdom and how Jeuss is God's forever king. My little boy who is almost 4 loves this book and wants me to read it. I actually have to say, "okay this is the last story for tonight". If you are looking for a bible that will help kids understand God's redemptive plan this is it. I will say that some times I paraphrase as I read because there are words he doesn't understand yet. But overall I think its excellent and I can see this will be a book he will look forwrd to reading himself when he is older.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2011
i was really excited about this book after reading a few of the reviews, but after receiving and reading it, i was quite disappointed.

some details were left out that bothered me:
1. it doesn't explain the creation of eve *after* adam
2. it doesn't include the 10 commandments
3. in the story of joseph, it skips joseph serving in potiphar's home and going to jail
4. it doesn't make a point to say that mary was a virgin
5. it skips the symbolic gifts of the magi
6. it doesn't cover any of the parables
7. it totally ignores the Holy Spirit when john baptizes Jesus (there's a dove in the scene, but no mention that the Holy Spirit descended like a dove)
7. it skips many of the miracles Jesus did (walking on water, feeding the 5000, etc.)
8. it completely skips the last supper and judas' betrayal
9. it doesn't exactly show Jesus on the cross
10. it doesn't include scripture references
11. i wish it included stories of God's provision (e.g. God providing clothes to adam and eve, food and water in the desert for the israelites, etc.)

1. it makes a point to say that adam and eve were kicked out because they disobeyed God, not simply for eating the fruit from the tree
2. it covers the conversation between Jesus and nicodemus and how one must be born again
3. every story builds up to the coming of Christ
4. it explains why the Bible exists (so that people after the time of Christ will know His story)
5. it makes references to previous stories in the book to connect the symbolism between the two (e.g. jacob's 12 sons and the 12 disciples)
6. child-friendly artwork

at its bare minimum, this is probably more appropriate as an introductory Bible story book for children under the age of 6. if you plan on reading this to your children or sunday school class, i'd strongly suggest reviewing the story in the Bible beforehand so you can include the omitted details to them as you read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2004
This story Bible is wonderful for kids, keeping the language simple and on a level that makes sense for its audience, but doesn't detract from the meaning of the stories themselves. The artwork by Gail Schoonmaker adds so much life to Dave Helm's words, and was so well thought-out and carefully undertaken, the artist even shows familial relationships between the characters. All in all, this is a wonderful picture Bible. And at less than $14 for 450 pages of such artistry, it's an awesome deal!
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