Biblical Characters by Nancy Sanders for Zondervan, I chose the Mary book 1) because she's a girl and when you have all girls, that is what they tend to like to read about and 2) I wondered where Nancy would go with a 100 page biography from someone whom Scripture does not say a lot about.
Overall, I am quite impressed with this book. What a wonderful resource for any home library. As an adult, I found myself learning about the time, culture, place in which Mary lived. Chapters cover her early days, engagement, the birth of Jesus, raising the Messiah, and being an eye witness to her son becoming the savior to the world. Beautiful photographs, maps, timelines, and illustrations are on every page! I loved the page on the currency complete with artifact photos. Snippets of information from related Bible stories and characters to vocabulary and definitions to extra facts that the reader may find interesting but perhaps not directly correlated to the character.
Sanders did a lovely job of giving the reader a picture of when and where Mary grew up without going beyond what scholars and scripture tell us. She is quick to mention unknowns or when something is theoretical (like how most women had a midwife, but Joseph perhaps helped but we do not know).
The reading level according to the notes on the back are for 2-3rd grade. However, I believe that due to context and facts the reading level should be placed more at the 4-5th grade level for independent reading. There are simply too many areas in which an 8 year old is not going to understand- even if they can read the words.
As a homeschooling mom, I am above and beyond impressed with this resource and can't wait to use it in our home studies. It would be great if Zondervan would package groups of these biographies together and sell at a discount. But at $7 a book, this is well worth it!
I give this great biography and resource guide a full 5 five stars.
*In return for my unbiased review I was given a copy of the book to read and enjoy myself.