Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Biggest Story

Illustrated by Don Clark
(Crossway, 2015), hb. 129 pp.
Ages 5+

This is a wonderful book! I enjoyed it and my kids enjoyed it, begging for us to read more. I am already committed to the idea of grasping the overall storyline of Scripture, and we’ve read other books that pursue this line. One of the real encouraging things I see is the increase of discussion of this idea and particularly the fact that this is showing up in children’s books (which means more parents might actually read it as well!).

DeYoung does a great job of presenting the unified story of Scripture and how it points to Christ. Reading this reminded me of how I often heard OT stories as a child- holding up the human hero so that we aspired to be like him and regretting those times people failed to live up to such a standard. It wasn’t until seminary that it hit me that Israel never even came close to living up to the Law. That throws a wrench in things when you read the stories as I’d been accustomed. With books like this, our children can understand from their earliest days that the repeated failure of people is not a surprise but points us to our need of a Greater One to come.

We talk a good bit about the big story of Scripture in our home and in the churches our kids have grown up in. However, when we came to the discussion of Gen 3:15, my younger two (to whom I was reading this book) did not know who this “snake crusher” might be- I continually find areas where, having taught things to my older children, I wrongfully assume I’ve taught it to my younger ones as well! But this led to a wonderful moment. The book makes the point that no one knew who this person would be. My children began to discuss the point and to make guesses. My daughter said, “I wonder who that will be?” They ran through a list of possibilities but weren’t satisfied with them. My son then suggested David (that’s his middle name as well!), and they agreed he was a real possibility. I nudged them to notice troubles with David, and then it was beautiful to see the lights come on in their eyes and to hear them almost shout, “Oh! It’s Jesus!” Exactly. That moment was worth it by itself.

I must also mention the artwork by Don Clark. Honestly, I didn’t expect much from the illustrations before opening the book. But I noticed right away that he was nicely using some standard symbolism to tie into the biblical themes. This led to us pausing at the beginning of each new chapter to consider the pictures and think together what they might mean. This added an interactive element which was a lot of fun and enhanced the learning. This is one example where the artwork significantly added to the book.

I guess it is obvious that we really enjoyed this book. In fact, I’m considering requiring it for my college OT Survey class next year (since this year has already started). I use some children’s books along the way- the novelty of it catches their attention. And, this is so well done, I think it might be a simple way of helping them catch the big picture I’m trying to show them throughout the semester.

This is a wonderful book, and I encourage every Christian family to get a copy and read it together. This is one to give away, place in the church library and even use in outreach. I remain convinced that one of the best ways to get sound theology to young parents is by giving them solid things to read with their kids. This is a great tool in that regard. 



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