My First Message: A Devotional Bible for Kids Hardcover – May 31 2007
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From the Back Cover
A unique devotional Bible designed to encourage parent-child interaction, My First Message introduces children to God's Word through the best-selling Message Bible text, lively illustrations, short lessons, and a format that considers a small attention span. Much more than a storybook, it's an easy and fun way for parents to teach their children about God's Word and learn a lifelong devotional method. Features include: *A unique devotional Bible for children ages 4 to 8 *An illustrated design *Each story designed to be read in 10-15 minutes *Durable casebound cover *Fun activities for parents and children
About the Author
EUGENE H. PETERSON is a pastor, scholar, writer, and poet. He has authored more than twenty books, including A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, The Contemplative Pastor, and Leap Over a Wall. He is Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Eugene founded Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, where he was the pastor for twenty-nine years. He lives with his wife, Jan, in Montana. They have three children and six grandchildren.
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First of all, it feels much more like Bible reading and less like a bedtime story. But the words are simple enough to understand for my 5 year old. One of the nice things is that when a word comes up that the child may not know, the book will put the word in bold type and have the definition at the bottom of the page.
Each page of the Bible reading has a discussion question. My son loves these. Some of them allow us to use our imaginations. Like during the Creation story, you get to talk about what kinds of things you would want to create if you were in charge of Creation. Some of them help you discuss particular elements of the story more in depth. And some of them get you to talk with your child about personal choices and difficulties that they face in their lives.
At the end of each reading, there is a 'Prayer' section, that gives you suggestions on things that you can pray about with your child. I like this a lot, as it helps me to show my son many different kinds of things that we can pray to God about, rather than just saying pretty much the same thing every evening (which sometimes tends to happen).
There is also a 'Live' section. This is my son's favorite part. It's an activity that you get to do together. It might have the parent discussing their own personal experiences. It might be a game related to the story. It might be the parent and child drawing something together. One of the activities that my son particularly liked was taking a walk outside together and talking about God's creation.
My son enjoyed listening to me read Bible stories before, but he likes listening to stories in general. But he really looks forward to our Bible time with this book. It's great to see him so excited about God's Word.
The book says that it's for ages 4-8. My son is 5 and it's perfect for him. I'm not sure how it would go over with older kids.
The devotional format encourages children to Read, Think, Pray and Live.
-- Read: Included are 50 Bible stories. Biblical references are clearly featured.
-- Think: Colorful "bubble" sidebars ask questions to involve children in the story. For example, the chapter on Exodus 7-11 (The Plagues) asks "What does it mean to be stubborn?" and "Would you change your mind if all these things were happening to you? Why or why not?"
-- Pray: Prayer prompts are at the end of each chapter. After reading about the good Samaritan, children are encouraged to "pray for neighbors on your block, in your school and around the world."
-- Live: A special character, Manty the praying mantis, details fun activities and applications right next to the prayer prompts. Some are service activites or ways to reach out to friends at school. Others are drawing or craft projects. All of them reinforce the lessons from the stories.
Additional features include a parents' guide (in the front of the book), vocabulary words (definitions offered in the margins), and hidden Mannys (Manny the praying mantis is hidden in several of the illustrations).
Rob Corley and Tom Bancroft have filled this book with inviting illustrations kids love. The characters are distinct (as opposed to some children's Bibles where every character looks the same) and active. Their cartoony, comic book style comes from over 30 years combined experience in animation, most of which while working for Disney.
What I Like: This is the first children's Bible I've found to make real age-appropriate connections. For example, the author makes the story of Jonah personal, understandable by saying "God sent Jonah to time-out in the belly of a huge fish." (This is in the Pray section, not the story section.) It then encourages kids to confess their sins to God and ask Him to help them obey. I think this is a fabulous application! I also really like the introductory material. The front of the book gives several pages of parent helps to direct them in how to use this book with their children, how to effectively teach their children to love God.
What I Dislike: Some of the illustrations are a little odd, but this may be my more conservative nature popping through. My kids LOVE this book, especially the illustrations. It's the new favorite Bible in our house -- and we have a lot!
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Tanya -- Christian Children's Book Review
It's a great book, but really cheaply made. If you only want to read from this once a week, it might last longer, but it's not well constructed for daily use for a child in the targeted age group. I wish our son could continue to use it for another year or so, but we're going to have to look for something more durable.
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