"Great Stories of the Bible" is a collection of 6 books in one, all of which can be purchased on their own. The stories are:
- God's Great Creation
- Facing the Blazing Furnace
- Ruth and Naomi
- Miracles of Jesus
- A Father's Love
- The Good Samaritan
I previously reviewed the last four stories as the stand alone books.
God's Great Creation:
This book tells the story of the seven days of creation through the fall of mankind and their banishment from the Garden of Eden. The illustrations were colorful and similar to colored pencil drawings. I wasn't sure why one picture has Eve with her hand in an elephants mouth, though. I liked that they didn't make the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as an apple, but some odd fruit that sort of resembles blue pomegranates. A couple of things made me pause in this story (it says God told them to use all you see with respect. It seems a bit "mother Earth" to me. God told them to tend and keep the garden. Also, it says that angels were sent to care for the garden when Adam and Eve had to leave. The Bible says that God posted angels to guard the way into the garden, but doesn't say anything about them taking care of the garden), but overall, I liked the story. The end of the book has "People in Bible Times" about Adam and Eve and "Words to Treasure" that talks about how we don't know what type of tree the Tree of Life was (although it seems like it seems like is should be about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, since that is what they weren't supposed to eat).
Facing the Blazing Furnace:
This book starts with telling how some people in Israel worshiped other gods and that King Nebuchadnezzar captured the city and brought Jews back to Babylon and how he chose young men to work for him after being trained for three years. It then jumps to Nebuchadnezzar building the golden statue and ordering everyone to worship it when the music plays. I liked the brief synopsis that tells how Hananiah, Mishael, & Azariah (aka Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego) came to be in Babylon. The pictures were engaging and colorful. One does show Nebuchadnezzar and a worker in the doorway of the furnace which wouldn't have worked as the men who threw the three men into the furnace died from the heat coming from the furnace. The end of the book has "People in Bible Times" about Nebuchadnezzar and "Live It!" about trusting God for all things.
Ruth and Naomi:
This book is a simple retelling of the story of Ruth and Naomi from the Bible. As with other books in this series, it has bright colorful pages and easy to read sentences. The book mostly follows the Biblical account of the story with some simplification (it doesn't talk about the Kinsman redeemer aspect). There were a few things that bugged me about the book, however. First, it opens with Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon, and Chilion pictured at home in Israel. The boys appear to be about 4-6 years old. It says that they "had to move far away". The Bible just says that they moved to Moab and I always got the impression it was a lack of faith that caused them to leave. But that could be my own opinion, I guess. But the very next page in the book mentions "one day...Naomi's husband died and later, her sons died, also". No mention of the ten years they'd been there and suddenly there are wives of the sons. It is confusing as to why there are wives when the boys seemed to be so young. I thought that would be confusing to kids. When Naomi returns to Israel, the book says she was happy to be home. The Bible seems to disagree since Naomi told everyone to call her Mara which meant "bitter" (doesn't seem to happy to me). Also the book says that Naomi was so thankful that Ruth and Boaz got married that she jumped in the air. I felt this was quite a stretch from the Biblical account. Overall, I thought the book was nice and would be good for beginner readers to be able to read stories from the Bible. I would just recommend having them read it to you so you can supplement and explain further.
Miracles of Jesus:
"Miracles of Jesus" tells about some of the miracles of Jesus. It has two chapters. The first tells the story of Jairus' Daughter. This also included the part of the story where the woman touches Jesus' robe. I found it to be Biblically accurate. The other chapter tells of the Feeding of the 5000. It also followed the true story in the Bible.The illustrations were beautiful and reminded me of colored pencil pictures. Many of the pages are completely covered with color making the book visually appealing. At the end of the book is a "Did you Know?" section that lists some more of the miracles Jesus performs and a "Words to Treasure" section that gives a Bible verse.
A Father's Love:
"A Father's Love" tells the story of the Prodigal Son. I found it to be Biblically accurate. The illustrations were beautiful and reminded me of colored pencil pictures. Many of the pages are completely covered with color making the book visually appealing. The end of the book has a "People in Bible Times" witha verse and "words to Treasure" about how God values family.
The Good Samaritan:
"The Good Samaritan" doesn't just tell the story of the Good Samaritan, but starts with Jesus teaching the people and being questioned by a "very smart man". Jesus then goes on to tell the story of the Good Samaritan. The book then ends with Jesus asking the man who the neighbor was in the story. At the end of the story, there is a "People in Bible Times" page that gives a key verse, "What is a Samaritan" and "Words to Treasure". The What is a Samaritan portion didn't really give much information. It says that a Samaritan lived in Samaria and then says that Jews and Samaritans were foreigners and didn't know much about each other, so they didn't like each other. This isn't the reason they didn't get a long at all, and I think they should have just left it out if they didn't want to mention that Jews didn't like Samaritans because they were descendants of Jews who had married Gentiles. Other than that, I liked how the book followed the Biblical account. The pictures are colorful and go along with the text well. At one point, it says the Samaritan forgot that Jews and Samaritans didn't like each other. This makes it sound like it slipped his mind rather than he chose to ignore the fact that the two groups didn't get along.
I am glad for stories that I can let my children read and know that it is teaching truth. It is a Level 2 reader which stands for "Reading with Help-high interest stories for developing readers". I think that the book should have a table of contents so that it is easier to find each individual story in the book. Even though we own more than half of the books in this collection already, it is nice to have them all in one spot. My youngest son loves being able to grab this book and being able to read through the stories with minimal help.
"Great Stories of the Bible" is available in hardcover:
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. No other form of compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own.