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Jan 4, 2017

Zonderkidz The Beginner's Bible ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Zondervan is a well known publisher of Christian books.  Their children's division, Zonderkidz, produces books and products for children under age 12.  We own several of their children's Bibles as well as some of the Veggie Tales story books and some of the newer Berenstain Bears books.  The Beginner's Bible had actually been on my wishlist for quite a while and through a couple of boys.

This award winning children's Bible covers 94 well-known Biblical events with richly colored illustrations and short bits of easy to understand text on each and every thick, glossy page.  The hard cover is sturdy and should last through years of love and usage.  512 pages cover both the Old and New Testaments.

The Beginner's Bible arrived right before Christmas, so the first parts I read aloud to Merrick were the sections pertaining to the birth of Jesus Christ.  I was surprised how little time it took to read over three to four "chapters" of this Bible.  After we finished with read aloud time and looked over the illustrations together, I left the book with Merrick who is learning to read.  He mostly just looked at the pictures, gave his best guess what each story was about and narrated to the cat.  He knew King Herod by his angry face.  He must have "read" The Beginner's Bible in that manner for over an hour that day.  We've returned to it several times since then and have often discussed the stories and pictures in more detail.  He's very hungry for the Bible right now.

What is it with kitties who feel the need to swish their tails across your nose?
The first page of The Beginner's Bible has a place for the child's name and an invitation to read to them.  This is followed by the Table of Contents for the 94 Biblical events.  (Is it just me who doesn't like using "story" in relation to the *nonfiction* Bible?  Probably.  I'm weird.)  It begins at the very beginning, with darkness, and ends in Revelation, with Jesus bathed in glorious light.  I liked that contrast and was reminded that this is exactly how it was and will be.  Following The Book of Revelation is a dictionary defining some of the words that may be new to some children.  The words in the dictionary are italicized when they appear in the text of the book.  You'll find definitions for Books of Law, manna, Sabbath, and three full pages of important new words.

For the new year, we're getting more intentional about spending time reading every day and using part of that segment of our day to get in The Word and learn scripture.  Now is a great time to gift a child you love with his or her own Bible.  I will always remember the wonderful example my grandmother set for me.  She was up early every morning and when I went to the kitchen, she would be sitting at the chair by the window with her open Bible on the table.

The only (very small) thing I have to disagree with the publisher on is the claim of "all-new, vibrant, 3D artwork."  It definitely has illustrations that young children will enjoy and they are presented here with more depth, both in perspective and in colors and shading.  The art is much improved over the classic The Beginner's Bible.  However, any child who has seen actual 3D in movies or books (remember the old blue and red glasses?) will quickly see that this Bible is not illustrated in three dimension.

The website suggests this book is intended for ages six and under, but the book back itself points to a 4-8 year old range.  I have found The Beginner's Bible to be a perfect fit for two kinds of youngsters.  First, as a read aloud for much younger listeners, the text is very minimal and will hold those short attention spans.  Second, for early readers who are just beginning to enjoy reading on their own.  I think it would be frustrating for children still learning to read.  Many of them might still like it as a read aloud.  To me, it felt like there might be (for some families) a gap of a couple of years between those audiences.

The Beginner's Bible has it's own website where your child can play games and print coloring pages, mazes, iron ons, and trivia cards, as well as see the anniversary edition illustrations contrasted with the classic art.

Book Details at a glance.
Size: 7.75x6.5 inches
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 512
Price: $16.99
Publisher: Zonderkidz

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The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

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