Thursday, March 24, 2016

Children's devotional "I AM" develops trust in God, delves into His many names

The Parrino house has quite a collection of children's Bibles. The title of Diane Stortz's sparkling (literally) new children's devotional, "I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God," told me I had to get my hands on this one. The name is drawn from Psalm 9:10- "Those who know your name put their trust in you." I really like that thought-- the more of God's names we know, the more we meet Him in the fullness of His personality, the more reason we have to trust Him. Moreover, I love that this story bible takes as its central theme the many names of God because I feel it's important for kids get a taste of the complexity and wonder bound up in God's many attributes. 

The book covers 40 stories, evenly selected from both Old and New Testaments, with about four to six pages per story. The Old Testament stories include both the Hebrew name and an interpretation-- and I found myself learning some new names: El Emeth (God of Truth). El Kanna (Jealous God), and El Nehkumah (God of All Comfort) among them. The New Testament stories focus on both the names people called Jesus, such as Rabbi and Son of God, as well as names Jesus gave Himself, such as The Bread of Life and the Good Shepherd. 

I liked that the collection included some less common in the children's bible genre, such as the story of Ruth in the Old Testament and Jesus with Mary and Martha in the New. 

Each chapter contains a verse containing one of God's names, a retelling of  a Bible story that illustrates the featured facet, and a page of devotional content, including a couple of paragraphs subheaded "What Does It Mean?", a two-sentence prayer and a "Learn More" box with additional verses and a few sentences answer to the question "What Happened Next?"

With my own littles, (aged 7, 5 and 2) I stuck mainly to reading the name, verse reference and story. They tended to stop paying attention to the devotional portions. If you're someone who feels most secure when the devotional package is completely spelled out, I AM's format will appeal to you. Personally, I don't like everything to be scripted out for me. I like there to be some wiggle room to pause and let the boys raise their own questions, so after the first couple of chapters I stopped reading  the boys the devotional content. 

One other (minor) qualm I had was with the illustrations, which are vibrant and eye-catching and full of action-- but also, I found them a little bit too big-eyed, red-lipped, gown and hair-flowing, Disney-perfect. Kids really are drawn to this style, so my mention of it is more a matter of personal taste than criticism. 

Overall, I found this a worthy addition to our growing collection of illustrated Bible resources. 

I received my copy of I AM from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

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