Monday, February 10, 2014

Candle Bedtime Bible: My Review

About the Book:
There’s always time for a story with the Candle Bedtime Bible! Coded for easy reference, forty favorite Bible stories are each timed to be told in three, five, or ten minutes. With plain language and gentle illustrations, this Bible is perfect for a peaceful story time.

My Comments:
This book has been in my nine year old's backpack since it arrived.  She has to have a book with her at school and she has chosen this one.  That says something.  

As noted on the cover, this book is designed with the idea of reading the Bible stories as bedtime stories.  The table of contents shows whether each story is a three minute story, a five minute story or a ten minute story,which would be very convenient if I was in the habit of reading bedtime stories.  (Don't fuss at me; by the time she's finished with her homework it's almost bedtime and she wants to play on the computer for the few minutes she has.)

Rather than simply re-telling Bible stories, this book tries to make them more story-like.  For example, in the story of the Good Samaritan (titled "The Stranger Who Helped") we learn that the robbers took everything, even his coat, and that all he could hear was the chirruping grasshoppers.  Then he heard flip-flop, the sound of the priest and then clomp, clomp, the sound of the Levite and then the clip clip of the Samaritan's donkey.  He thought to himself that he has always heard that Samaritans are mean and selfish and that he probably wouldn't even stop--and since we know the rest of the story I won't go into it here.  While the stories are embellished to make them more story-like, they do not include interpretations telling us what we are supposed to learn from them.  There are twenty-two Old Testament stories and Twenty New Testament stories.

I've said before that when I review children's Bible stories look for certain stories.  I want to know if the book has the Annunciation (this did not), the Wedding at Cana (no), Peter's profession of faith and being given the keys to the kingdom (no) and the Last Supper and institution of the Eucharist (yes, but badly told).  I also want to know how gory the crucifixion is--and in this case it is not, the crosses are in the background, the foreground is looks like Mary, John and another woman crying.  However, nothing is said about Jesus giving John and Mary to each other.  

The Last Supper story is a little problematic.  "Jesus took some bread.  He thanked God for it, broke it and gave a piece to each of his friends.  After this Jesus said, 'Take this bread and eat it!  I am the bread.  I am giving myself for you all.'  ...."Drink some of this wine!  The wine is my life.  I offer my life for all.'"  I just don't consider that an accurate paraphrase of "This is my body" and I just checked four different non-Catholic Bibles; they all said "This is my Body".  While I consider this an important story and find this interpretation to be completely wrong, it isn't enough to make me make this book disappear.  However, it would probably be enough to keep me from buying it if I saw it in the store.  Otherwise, I did not see anything objectionable in the book, though I'll admit I haven't read the whole thing.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available.  Minus the Last Supper story, I'd give this book at B+; however that's a big one for me so I'm marking it down to a B- with a warning about the story, particularly for Catholic parents.  

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