I received a PDF of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I genuinely believe one can never have too many well-written children’s Bibles. Different authors make choices in their paraphrase or translations of the important stories, in which stories are selected or omitted, and in the illustrations. By having several illustrated Bible story books, children and adults are afforded a visual understanding of what is already a reality- we all have our own lens on scripture.
Picture the Bible by Stacy Johnson Myers is a Bible storybook to add to your collection for richness of language and art. The pictures are beautifully created from layered paper, giving them depth and texture. There is both enough detail to evoke the scene and enough minimalism to allow for imagination. A particular favorite of mine is the artwork for the magi. Without facial features and with loose clothing, I was able to imagine the scene as three wise, helpful women coming to visit, encourage, and inspire Mary, in addition to satisfying their own curiosity and thirst for knowledge.
The careful paraphrase of the stories encourages open interpretation. By not gendering God and being careful in other word choices, the writing is genuinely open and inviting. It is easy to relate to different people in the stories. The question prompts at the end of the story encourage further thought and imagination.
If I could make one change to the book, I wish there were few more stories of women. I would have liked to read the interpretations and seen the illustrations for Hannah, Lydia, or Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Jesus. As a collector and reader of Bibles, the absence of these stories was palpable for me. It’s not enough to keep me from buying, using, and gifting this Bible, but it underscores the need for using multiple Bibles and Bible storybooks.
I am thinking of buying this Bible for a seminarian I know who is building their library as well as a couple pastors with younger kids. I want one myself, especially because I enjoy reading books with rich pictures to friends in nursing homes. My sister, an art history major, probably needs this for her kid- especially since her child would definitely be inspired by the pictures.
I sincerely commend the artists- Amy Sands, Jacqueline Lakely, and Kathryn Brewer- for the art in this book. This volume is a perfect example of the art and the text complementing one another. Picture the Bible will be released from Pilgrim Press on August 1 and is available wherever you buy books.
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The Reverend Julia Seymour serves Big Timber Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Big Timber, MT. She blogs at lutheranjulia.blogspot.com and readsallthethings.com. She contributed to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit and is President of the board of RevGalBlogPals, Inc.
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