When I received the Great & Small Bible, which Holman kindly sent me to review, my first impression was “Sweet!” And, indeed, the charming artwork, quality construction, and reader-friendly text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) make this edition a sweet gift for Christian parents of new babies.
While not actually for babies, the book encourages parents to jot down memorable moments in their child’s life from birth weight, height, etc., and also record the names of parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, and more on the page “Your family loves you with a great love!”
One double-page insert focuses on the first times a child smiled, slept all night, rolled over, and other firsts, while another double-page spread encourages parents to record something about their baby’s first holidays.
My favorite double-page insert, however, says, “You are small, but we know you have a great future!” then provides lined writing space on the left to note “These are our greatest hopes for you.” On the page on the right side, parents can fill in spaces for “Our precious child, this is our prayer for you” and “We chose this special Bible verse for you.”
Instead of the typical baby book that many of us begin then forget, the inclusion of the CSB encourages parents to read the text each time they pick up this unique keepsake edition. The lovely artwork will please a growing child and, hopefully, cause them to ask to hear about their first year of life and, in the process, be drawn to reading God’s Word for themselves.
Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2018, poet-writer, Bible reviewer
Great & Small Bible, hardback
March 26, 2018
January 23, 2015
As a poet and writer, I've discovered that the most difficult books to write and place with publishers are those for very young children. The content must be age-appreciate, the text honest, and the facts accurate with only a few words of one or two syllables used to create a lively, child-friendly tone. The artwork must be kid-appealing, too, with clear, colorful pictures that help a preschooler better understand what's said.
In My Keepsake Bible published by Tyndale Kids, author Sally Ann Wright and artist Honor Ayres beautifully accomplish all of the above, but that’s not all to consider!
A “keepsake” book for young children needs a sturdy, wipeable cover and a manageable size. Long before a publisher gets that far, however, the initial idea or concept for the book must have a unique perspective or a fresh approach to an old story.
Wright accomplishes this, too, by connecting each child's personal history to his or her Bible family.
With pages for a birth announcement, family tree, and individual progress of the child’s development, this edition combines key parts of a "baby book" with key Bible stories to show our progress and ongoing development in our relationship with God.
That unique approach appealed to me enough to request a review copy from the publisher, which Tyndale kindly sent, and I studied with special interest as I would love to write this type of book!
After including pages to record the child’s story, the book begins with “The Story of Creation,” told in an appropriately poetic style.
“Long ago, at the very
beginning, God was there.”
“God made silvery fish and buzzing bees, song birds and bright butterflies.”
“Everything in God’s world was good.”
Prayers of thanks follow with subsequent prayers expressed by the author or by scriptures chosen from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. Those prayers, which can help to establish a precedent for praying regularly, intersperse the stories throughout the book.
Looking at those stories closely, we find the honest truth that people mess up and do wrong! Nevertheless, our loving God continues to protect, guide, and love us, which pretty much sums up the Bible message. Then, as these clear, concise stories come to an end, “Paul’s Thank-You Letters” bring this word to young readers:
“Paul reminded them to live as God wanted them to – to be kind and forgiving to each other and to share what they had with others. He told them that the most important thing they could do was to love God. Then they would begin to act like him, loving other people too.”
©2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, writer, and reviewer, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts.
My Keepsake Bible, lightly padded hardcover