Children’s Bible with Good Words, Odd Art

altBook Review: "Big Red" Holy Bible – Contemporary 3-D Art.
The International Children’s Bible has been available since 1986, and the previous editions of the “Big Red” Children’s Bible seem to be well-loved. This 2010 paperback update changes little except for the cover art and the pictures. The Bible portion itself is a translation from the original Greek and Hebrew into third-grade level English so as to be more understandable to children. The publishers website says that “The International Children’s Bible (ICB) gives the meaning of the text in plain modern speech. It smoothes out rough places and eliminates repetition, making it a good choice for casual reading and devotional use.” The preface states that there were two premises guiding the translation process. First was the “concern that the translation be faithful to the manuscripts in the original languages”. Second was “to make the language simple enough for children to read and understand it for themselves”. The preface also indicates the major types of issues that the translators addressed – it is worth reading. It is not just the vocabulary that has been simplified, but grammatical and literary elements that could be confusing to Children have been addressed as well.
The translation itself is well done and I have no doubt that it is easier for children to understand. The goal of giving a child true Bible in words they can understand, rather than merely a story book collection, is commendable. I certainly would have no concerns in giving this translation to my own grandchildren. But I would probably give them an older edition – one without the “contemporary 3-D art” which, to this grandpa, seems really odd … almost strange. I can’t really explain it, but it was off-putting to me (and Mrs. Random as well). I understand that good art is in the eye of the beholder, but I would be slow to purchase this book on that basis alone. (note that this copy was provided to me for review purposes by the publisher).
I also think that the type face and line spacing of the Bible text is not particularly user (i.e., child) friendly. The choice used in the dictionary portion is much better. I’m sure that the desire to keep the book more compact is behind that choice and can’t be helped. The paperback cover will not last long with most children (that’s opinion based on years as a pastor, dad, and now a grandfather). I’d encourage the publisher to consider using some older pictures and using the dollars saved to add a more durable cover.
All considered I still recommend this translation, and encourage parents to discuss it with their children, as they fulfill their God-given responsibility in training.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise [Deuteronomy 6:6-7, ESV]

  "Big Red" Holy Bible – Contemporary 3-D Art

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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