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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2012
Reason for Reading: We start our homeschool lessons with God. Including a reading from the Bible. I had seen this book recommended on a Catholic mum's blog (she no longer blogs, I think) and was utterly taken by her review, so I checked the book out online and purchased it immediately.

I read a "story" to my son every school day and with almost 200 stories, we have been reading the book for about a year. As is always important to me when using Catholic materials with my son, the book does have a Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur. The book begins with a letter to children from Mother Teresa and then a 2 page introduction by the compiler explaining how the book is set up.

Each "story" is a two page spread, though the second page just includes the illustration and the extra interactive material. I should now mention, that though this Bible is divided into "stories" they are not reinterpretations dumbed down for children; Instead what we have are actual passages from the NRSV Catholic text of the Bible, plus the Bible contains stories from the Septuagint, the Holy Canon.

This is the best Bible Story book I have read aloud to my children ever. Ds enjoyed our readings from this Bible and it will be a Keeper for our household. Briefly how a reading is set up. Each reading starts with a title followed by the scripture reference where it can be found. Then there is a blue box of text which introduces the background/people to be read about. This includes either some instructional material or something to think about. Then we have the Bible "story" taken verbatim from the NRSV Catholic text. This is followed by a prayer, which could be a traditional Catholic prayer, one taken to revolve around the scripture reading or a prayer from a Saint. On the opposing page is an illustration along with a "Did you know?" This can range from the definition of an ancient word in the text, Bible history, modern related information or word origins. Finally there is a Going Deeper section which includes two activities 1: Read it which directs one to a reading in the CCB and 2) Do it! which has a craft or , charity or thought discussion to perform. Every now and then between the stories there comes to be the "big" Catholic prayers to be prayed that day: The Apostle's Creed, The Rosary, The Angelis, St. Francis & St. Patrick's prayers, etc.

Another thing I particularly enjoyed were the selections from Revelation. Usually, childen' story books only include the one scene from Revelation of what the Kingdom of Heaven will look like. This Bible has five readings taking one simplistically through Revelations main theme. Highly recommended and as I said above, a Keeper for my shelves.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
I was so excited to get "My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories" in the mail. Well- known Catholic writer and editor Heidi Hess Saxton has done an incredible job pulling this valuable resource together. Over 175 Bible Stories have been culled from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition text. To supplement these, Saxton has included an introduction, a prayer, and a "Going Deeper" section for each story. The "Going Deeper" features further references relating to the story and actions one can take to further one's knowledge or put the Bible lesson into practice. For many of the stories, there are also "Did You Know?" features which add a little bit of extra information, a "Quote of the Day" from a saint, or "Special Words" which emphasizes vocabulary one might not be familiar with. She has also interspersed pages dedicated to Catholic prayers.

"My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories" is attractively designed, with kid-friendly headings and color-coded sections. The beautiful illustrations by Natalie Carabetta only add to the experience. This is a book that children will greatly enjoy looking at and sharing with their parents. It is primarily targeted to the 7 - 12 age range, although children younger and older could certainly benefit from it. I heartily recommend "My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories" to any Catholic family searching for a kid-friendly Bible. Perhaps the best endorsement is how much my two boys (ages 7 and 8) enjoyed looking through this book. They said it was much better than the kids' Bible that they currently have!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2011
I love that this book uses actual bible text so the kids get used to hearing it. I read it to my 3 and 1/2 and almost-2-year-old, and I have to explain a little as I read it, but I think it is important to read the actual Word of God to our children and not merely watered down summaries of Bible stories. It has good pictures for the kids to look at while you read also. And every page has a prayer that goes along with the text as well as further scripture readings related to that bible verse.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
There's only one thing I don't like about My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories, compiled by Heidi Hess Saxton and illustrated by Natalie Carabetta:

It came out after my kids were older.

This is a compilation of 175 of the most important stories in the Bible, along with prayers and activities. Granted, there are plenty of Bible Story compilations out there. Several things set this one apart, especially for Catholics:

1. The stories are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Catholic Bible. This means you'll find stories from the Deuterocanonical books, like Sirach.

2. The stories are pulled verbatim from the Bible. While summaries or interpretations are okay for children, it's nice to see a Bible stories book that recognizes that children can understand the actual language of the Bible, and gives them the chance to appreciate the beauty of the language and the details of the story outside of Mass.

3. After each story, you not only find an activity idea but also suggested readings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that apply to the story. Even better: if the story is one read during Mass, Heidi tells you what Sunday and what other verses are read that day. She also includes traditional Catholic prayers, sometimes with the story and sometimes with their own special page.

I know Heidi personally from our work on Catholic Writers Conferences Online, and have read her book, "Behold Your Mother." She was also editor of Canticle Magazine, a well-respected Catholic Women's online magazine. I know that she not only lives her faith, but thinks about it. She's also a very thorough researcher. I feel confident in the introductions she wrote for each story, as well as the extra facts dotted throughout the book.

The illustrations are marvelous: bright and simple enough to attract toddlers, yet realistic and interesting enough that parents won't feel like they're reading yet another "kiddie book."

Finally, Heidi set this compilation up for study as well as reading: in addition to the other Scripture readings and the Catechism, the prayers, and the suggested activities, it has indexes for topics, readings, and Catechism references. I would have adored this book for homeschooling.

I'll be honest: I didn't read the whole thing. My goddaughter was coming over to visit and I gave it to her. I am also planning on buying another copy for my other goddaughter and a copy for myself (to have for future grandchildren should I be so blessed.) I highly recommend this book for any Catholic parent or godparent of kids 2-10. (After 10, I recommend the Breakthrough Bible for Young Catholics.)
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2010
It is the book I have been searching for, edited by a reliable Catholic author, Heidi Hess-Saxton. In My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories, each story is just the right length for reading before bedtime. And I love the way Heidi works in psalms and prayers as well as quotes from the catechism. It is great for our home religion class, too, and can be read into the teen years. The illustrations are helpful in conveying the story to young children, and has already inspired some lively discussions.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
With My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories, noted author Heidi Hess Saxton has given Catholic families and parishes everywhere a tremendous treasure. References from the Catechism, inspirational quotes from the saints, and suggested family activities make this a perfect faith formation tool for children and parents alike." Having had the opportunity to read and share this beautiful book, I am now more convinced than ever that every Catholic family, school and parish should have a copy of this fantastic resource.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2010
We use this Children's Bible as part of our home school curriculum. My son and I both really like it and I find it fills a need in Catholic Bibles - it is much more in-depth than a preschooler's Bible, but is easier to read than a teen Bible.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
We bought this for our 3 year old so we could begin reading him Bible stories every night. While I appreciate that this book does not 'dumb it down', it makes it a little more difficult for young children to grasp. Our son was too young to be interested in the stories because he didn't understand them. The text is a very good resource, so hopefully he will be into it more once he is older.

The most disappointing thing about this book are the pictures. Now please understand, I'm not trying to be mean here, just honest, but a lot of the pictures are poorly done, and there is one of the Virgin Mary that is especially disappointing.

So to sum it up: We appreciate the text and the effort put into this book, but wish the same amount of attention had been given to the artwork.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2011
We bought two of these. One for a 9 year old grandson, and one for a 10 year old granddaughter. They love reading Bible stories out of this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I've looked high and low for years for the Catholic equivalent of the Bible story books I had as a child.

It's not that I don't like the ones I had as a child; it's that I want to share the delight of Tobit, the wonder of Sirach, and the adventure of Maccabees with my children. I want to see the amazing illustrations that would be possible, use dramatic voices, talk about the tales long after the book's closed.

My search is now over.

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories is a treasury for every age. Whether you're looking for a gift for a family in your life or searching, as I did, for a Bible story book that includes those wonderful deuterocanonical stories of Tobit and Maccabees (and the others!), consider this book. It's topping my list of gifts to give in the coming years.

And I suspect it will also top my list of favorite books to curl up on the couch and read to my kids.
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