Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: Goodnight Ark

The tale of Noah and his infamous ark have been told in many ways.  From major motion pictures to simple Sunday School songs, there are few who do not know (even if only as a tale) the story of Noah building an Ark to hold two of every animal on earth and protect them from the epic, destructive flood.  

Most children enjoy the story of Noah (in its many forms) with its adventure, hero, and of course- ANIMALS!

In a new picture book, Goodnight Ark, by Laura Sassi and illustrated by Jane Chapman the ark comes to life in a more make believe and sweet imaginative story.  Noah, dressed in yellow rain slickers, lovingly escorts the animals to their refuge in the ark.  But the fun begins when the rain goes pitter patter on the ark.  Animal pair after animal pair come clamoring into Noah's bed- causing quite a noisy and smelly mess.  When the ark starts to shift- all craziness ensues!  It isn't until Noah bunks with his new friends that peace is upon the boat and it is time to say, "Goodnight ark."

This is an adorable story.  The illustrations are sweet, colorful, and play to a child's imagination.  I love the rhyme and rhythm to the book as well.  Using more unusual animals like quail and boar was neat.  It is a cute book and would make a great addition to any library or bedtime routine.  

This is not a biblically accurate story- and not intended to be- so beware that Noah is alone with animals, in a clean cozy bedroom with a wood burning stove wearing striped shirt and socks.  I'm sure tigers and elephants did not cuddle up with one another.  Put the theology aside and just enjoy the sweet story.

My girls (ages 18 months to 8 years) all really enjoyed reading this book.  The 8 year old read it over and over again to her little sisters.  

Thanks to book look bloggers and zonderkidz for the free copy of the book!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Quick Start Guide to the Bible

When I signed up to receive this book for free in exchange for my review, I had anticipated a more exciting and colorful resource book.  I enjoy the academic study of the scriptures and love digging into the historical context and significance that surround books of the bible, its authors, and its stories.  From the cover shot, it appeared to be a great find- perhaps one with coordinating pictures of artifacts or paintings depicting the stories or authors.  However, I was left quite disappointed when I received a very plain 300 page paperback.

The Quick Start Guide to the Whole Bible:  Understanding the Big Picture Book by Book  by Dr. William Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers is intended to give a brief synopsis of each book of the Bible in efforts to help readers and believers understand the significance of the book within the context of scripture.  Each book of the Bible is discussed with subheadings:  Setting, Summary, and Significance.  While boasted to be in conversational language I found it to be quite academic and lecture in nature.  Many large, 'religious', and intimidating words are used which reflect scripture, but I would hardly use in a conversation of scripture where "quick start" was the focus.  I appreciated that throughout the discussion of each book, there were specific verse references so one could look up what was being discussed or referenced to.  When reading a book like this, I believe a reader will see more of the connection the individual books of the Bible have.  The continuity was helpful.

In the end, I struggle to figure out who would read (intended audience) this and why (purpose).  While not completely intimidating, I would hesitate to give this to a new believer as I would rather see them grow through actually reading scripture, not a book about it.  As for study and growth purposes, I find this does not do much more than the introductory sections of many study bibles.  My Life Application study Bible has many of these notes and in a much more condensed and friendly form.  For a quick overview, its actually too long especially compared to the study bible model.  For a  study resource with new, in-depth knowledge its too much on the surface.

While well written and wonderfully organized, I would recommend readers into the direction of a study bible with similar resources or free resources online if they are looking for an overview of the who, what, where, and why's of the authors and stories of the Bible.

*Bethany House gave me a free copy of this book in return for my unbiased review through the book blogger review program.