The Jesus Book by Stephen Elkins (illustrated by Claudine Gevry)

13 Aug

I am reviewing this book as part of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Bloggers program and have been excited to share the book with my son. Though he is too young to grasp the words as yet, I am always looking for colorful, well presented material that he enjoys looking at and from which I can begin to tell him about Jesus.

The book arrived two days ago and after having read the whole thing (it’s less than 100 pages), I’m very pleased to have this resource to share with my son. The theology has been very consistent (except for a few odd ideas, like Jesus uses parables so his teaching would be easy to understand – a cursory reading of the Scriptures suggests a lot of people were left scratching their heads by His storytelling, so I’m not in agreement with Mr. Elkins’ appraisal) and has mostly resisted from imposing too much of a particular flavor of protestantism.

The book is composed of sections that answer specific questions about Jesus: who He is, what He did, when He came etc. Each section then has answers laid out to these sectional questions, including the Scriptural reference upon which it is based. There are some nice interactive moments at the beginning of some of the sections, including maps of places featured in the story of Jesus with mini-quizzes to engage the young minds this book is intended for.

I was particularly pleased that the book does not shy away from speaking clearly about the reason for Jesus death, our sin, and our need to be saved. I think parents will need to be involved in the reading of this book, for just the reason stated. The concepts are pretty big in here, and I would recommend reading through it together so you can answer questions and clarify meaning.

The book also comes with a 30 song CD of songs about Jesus. The songs are sung by children, the instrumental backing is somewhat cheesey sounding (but isn’t most kids’ music?), and the recording quality is quite good. I know it isn’t my cup of tea when it comes to musical style, but I appreciate having a companion to the book to help my son explore more about the wonderful person of Jesus.

I would highly recommend this book to parents of a wide age range of children. The artwork is bright and colorful to attract younger children, the writing is advanced enough to keep older children engaged and this book serves its purpose valiantly: it tells us a LOT about Jesus!

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