Two book reviews today. Because they are Bibles and I don’t have a lot to say about each one, I’ll review them together. First is the NIrV (New International readers Version, meaning a simplified edition of NIV) Adventure Bible, published by Zonderkidz.
Children’s Bibles are tricky. When I was in third grade, I was given a Good News Bible (with a few line drawings every 100 pages or so) and expected to read at an adult level. Since then, publishers have put out illustrated story Bibles for toddlers and preschoolers. Those are terrific, but most children’s Bibles use adult-level translations despite their eye-catching covers, illustrations, and attempts to get kids interested. This Bible is no exception, but it’s a nice effort.
Viewing this book from a child’s perspective, the cover immediately grabs my attention. The 3-D “moving” picture (when you tilt your head from side to side) is great, as are the full-color illustrations and little sections such as “Did you know?” and “Life in Bible Times.” I like the illustrated introductory page to each chapter with basic facts about the author, purpose of the book, and main themes. My favorite section is the “Words to Treasure” that highlights key Bible verses.
All of this is great, and I plan to give the Bible as a gift to a child at my church. But, and this is always the problem with children’s Bibles, the actual Biblical text is too difficult, the font too small, and the lines too close together. I understand it’s cost-prohibitive and too heavy to print larger font and make the book much heavier, but perhaps we could have had a volume one and two? The NIrV is a nice simplification, but it’s still a lot of dense text. From my experiences as an adult trying to read in a foreign language (the closest I can get to remembering what it’s like to be a new reader), I can attest to the importance of manageable amounts of text per page. Otherwise, it’s easy to give up. I would love a children’s Bible that goes beyond the very limited storytelling of toddler Bibles but doesn’t expect children to read the entire text of the Bible at once. This Bible says it is for ages 6-10, but it would take an accomplished and perseverant 6-10 year old child to read this book.
However, based on the other available children’s Bibles (which aren’t many, besides toddler versions), this one is satisfactory. On its own merits, I would give the NIrV Adventure Bible three and half stars. Compared to other children’s Bibles available, I give it four.
NIV Fast Facts Bible: Fascinating Trivia From the Most Read Book in History was, quite frankly, a disappointment. Considering the price ($29.99) and blurb/advertising, I expected a great deal more information and sturdier construction than it offers.
First of all, a Bible should be able to withstand years of use. There is no reason for a paperback Bible that will get torn, bent, and disfigured with just one careless trip in a backpack.
Second, the “Fascinating Trivia” (which I was excited about, and I planned to give this book as a gift to a friend), amounts to one scant page at the beginning and ending of each chapter. The NIrV Adventure Bible contains far more information, in hardcover, full color, and for only two dollars more, than this paperback version. Honestly, even as an adult, I’d choose the NIrV Adventure Bible over this one. Almost everyone who might be interested in this book would already have at least one Bible (not counting these two I’ve received for review, I believe I own six if not more). I can’t even recommend this as a first Bible to own because the paperback makes it a poor choice for durability.
If the “fast fact” pages were collected into a small pamphlet and sold as supplementary material, I could recommend it. As a full Bible, this one misses the mark. I give this one two stars.
Review copies provided by BookLook, a subsidiary of HarperCollins.