Friday, February 05, 2016

I Will Follow Jesus: Judah & Chelsea Smith

I Will Follow Jesus by Judah and Chelsea Smith on Amazon

Disclosure of Material Connection in accordance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255: I received this book free from publicist, (author, publisher, distributor, or agent) with no requirement or expectation of a positive review; as always, opinions in this review are my own.

The title "I Will Follow Jesus" describes the focus of this collection of stories from the Old and Testament. This is a Bible Storybook, not a Children's Bible, with emphasis on story, so we don't have Psalms in kidstyle, or Romans after the manner of the elementary school playground.

Most of the narrative accounts that are familiar to most churchgoers start with an introduction from the life experience of pastor Judah or Chelsea Smith. At the end of the story we get an "I will follow Jesus" page with ideas and suggestions about ways to follow Jesus right now. Those pages conclude with a short prayer.

So disappointing almost right at the start! On page 10, "God had to punish Adam and Eve because they disobeyed Him." No, the God of the bible, God and Father of Jesus the Christ does not punish! If you read this with your kid(s), you'd need to explain God doesn't punish, but it sometimes looks that way to humans, and attributing the fallout from disobedience, sin, and natural disasters to God's wrath or punishment is a human habit.

Author Judah Smith is lead pastor of the multi-campus The City Church in Seattle. Artist Alexandra Ball designed the engaging brightly natural full-color illustrations. In events from the OT and NT, most everyone would be an Ancient Near Easterner as they are in the scripture stories themselves, but otherwise ethnicities of kids in the pictures literally are from all over the map. Presenting this wide human variety helps people understand that Jesus loves everyone.

The book designers formatted pages with too much black text against background colors that make the text difficult to read. On a few pages the background is so dark reading's close to impossible. Text background doesn't need to be bright white, but a very light tint of the same color would be in keeping with the colorful sensibility of the entire book. There's plenty of space to increase the size of the text boxes to accommodate a larger typeface and provide an easier parental reading experience as well as easier reading for kids who have reached that age when they want to read on their own for themselves. The book is printed on thick coated paper, bound with boards and easily stays open. There's even a presentation page just as with many real bibles, even a ribbon to mark where you left off last time!

Despite my reservations, I Will Follow Jesus is a nicely done book I'd definitely consider giving as a gift to almost anyone in the age range from kindergarten through grades 5 or 6.

Amazon review to follow! Book release date is Tuesday, 09 February, and since this wasn't a pre-publication amazon vine offering, Amazon wouldn't let me post a review... but goodreads did.

Tues 09 Feb—my Amazon Review: Nice Gift to Help Young People Learn and Live the Story of Jesus

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