Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review: Children’s Bible Hour Ministries (Seasons of Faith Storybooks)

When I was a kid, I used to love listening to “read along” stories on cassette. (Those of you who grew up in the 80’s know what I’m talking about: “Turn the page when you hear this chime—DINGGG”)  While I never listened to Bible stories or anything like that (I admit they were primarily fairy tales), I was curious to see how my own children would take to the storybooks with read-along CD’s from Children’s Bible Hour.

We received 4 Seasons of Faith storybooks {You Can’t Come In, Seventy Times Seven, Braving the Storm & Race with Midnight} based on radio scripts from Children’s Bible Hour. These high quality paperbacks offer rich, full-color illustrations that kind of reminded me of pictures found in those old (like before the 80’s) series called “The Bible Story”. Remember those? The blue, hardcover books that graced many a doctor’s office waiting room? But I digress…

The Seasons of Faith series is designed to help children learn about their faith by focusing on specific faith-developing topics in each of the four seasons.

Spring: This is a time when people experience new life in Christ. Faith develops and Christians begin to share the Salvation message with others.

Summer: The season when faith grows under God’s love and care. Fruit is witnessed and triumphs are gained through applying His Word and striving to be the best we can be in Christ.

Autumn: Times of struggle and temptation, peer pressure, making mistakes, and scary transitions happen during this season. Even though it might seem like nothing good can come from this time, God has promised us He will be there. He will teach us how to forgive and then grow in grace.

Winter: This season is the most difficult. Deep struggles, mourning, trying to make it through difficult times, or the death of a loved one can pull us away from God. He teaches us to lean on Him for comfort and peace.


youcant_cover  

 You Can’t Come In: Adam and his new friend Zack decide to build a tree fort one warm summer day. After zooming down a hill and falling into a muddy pond, Zack asks Adam about going to church and salvation.
Will Adam be able to explain his faith to Zack?
70_cover
Seventy Times Seven: Batter up! When Brad accidentally breaks the ice cream shop’s sign, the owner forgives Brad.
But when his best friend Doug ruins Brad’s favorite baseball cap, will he be able to forgive Doug?
bravestorm_cover
 Braving the Storm: When Thomás moves away from his neighborhood and into a mobile home in his grandparents’ backyard, he misses his friends.
There’s nothing to do around the apple orchard with no friends, his dad works a lot, and his little brother was hurt in an accident.
All his sister wants to do is play with her dolls.
Will Thomás be able to rely on God to get through the difficult times?

midnight_cover
 Race with Midnight: Becky spends spring break on her cousin Sarah's horse farm in Montana. Taking horse rides amidst the beautiful mountains and valleys, Becky tries to share her faith with Sarah as she talks about God's creation. Will Sarah listen? 

Details:
Each of these storybooks is available from the Children’s Bible Hour Ministries website for $10. In addition, there are a short series of discussion questions available for (free) download. You can check those out here.


Our Opinion:
The stories themselves are sweet and gently penned, but ring with a bit of a canned Bible story feel. There was always someone older and wiser to tell the main characters (or even secondary characters such as unsaved parents) about God, faith in Jesus, and how to get to Heaven which was/is fine and perfectly acceptable. However, the stories themselves just felt a bit unbelievable for my taste.

For example, in the situation of Mr. & Mrs. Palmer in “You Can’t Come In”, their son Zack shares with his mother about what his friend Adam told him about salvation. “Zack told me something Adam said,” Mrs. Palmer explained. “Adam said God didn’t want heaven ruined by sin. And God won’t let people into heaven who haven’t been cleansed of their sins. Mr. Palmer sat forward in his chair. “Zack said that?…Hmm, I guess he did some thinking.” “And I did too,” said Mrs. Palmer.

The parents then decide to take Adam’s parents up on their offer of attending church with them. Like I said, this is all well and good. Just very “predictable” and not entirely my thing.

My children weren’t too keen on the stories, either. My son (11) said he felt as though he was being “talked down to”. However, both he and my youngest daughter (10) did get a kick out of the CD’s. {Personally, I think this stems from the fact that neither one wanted to “read” that day but preferred to “listen” instead. ;o) } Later, I could hear them reciting the dialogue back ‘n forth in their own “deep, grown up” voices and laughing hysterically. They would much rather act the story out themselves than “listen” or “read” it any day! :) So the final score looks like this: Books—0 CD’s—3.

To learn more about these books, please visit the Children’s Bible Hour website. 

*As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received one free copy of each of the above books for free. No additional compensation was provided and the opinions/views expressed are my own.

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