- Dramatic Retelling of Exodus
- Easy–to–read rhyming style and illustrations
- God's Mighty Hand
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For many years Barna Research has shown the significant fall in church attendance amongst young people. Research suggests that children who leave the church by the age of 16 made the decision to do so before the age of 11. This makes engaging them before that age critical. This book has evidently been published with this in mind and the author and illustrator have worked hard to engage their target 6–11 year age range. The illustrations are fun and thoughtful, doing well to capture abstract concepts. The author has masterfully managed to condense 14 chapters of Exodus into what is essentially a pamphlet, without losing some of the more important detail of the original account. At times the rhyme is forced and it’s certainly not Dr Seuss, but it’s a good effort. It’s clearly God–centred and evangelistic in its intent. It’s also Trinitarian in theology, explicitly mentioning God (presumably the Father), Jesus and the Holy Spirit. However, the phrase ‘God came as Jesus’ on page 60 perhaps doesn’t go far enough to draw the distinction between the Father and the Son. The phrase might be understood to mean that Jesus is an incarnation of God (Father) rather than God the Son. This might simply be a result of the limitation of rhyme because the symbol to depict God throughout the book is the well–known three interconnected loops of the Triquetra. The book is a helpful summary of a great Old Testament story and clearly points children to Jesus’s death as the way in which God rescues us from slavery to sin. It also deliberately invites children to read the full story themselves.
I really enjoyed this book. It is quirky, fantastically illustrated and easy to read. I also received it just as we started preaching through Exodus as a church and we are thinking of bulk ordering it for the families in our church. Samuel gets the balance just right between giving enough detail to make the story interesting but not too much as to make it laborious. I can just imagine families from our church gathered on the couch to go through this page–turner. The rhyming style works better in some places than others but is not so overt so as to become distracting in the less effective places. Also the illustrations and wonderfully simple and simply wonderful. Buy this book, read it with your children, give it away as a Sunday School prize or as I did read it yourself and enjoy seeing a familiar story in a new light with a smile on your face and joy in your heart.
We all enjoyed the book (including the 4 year old). It was lovely both to listen to (they love rhyming books) and to read. The story is a classic anyway and one that never gets old but this telling of it was particularly good. The reality is that often the ‘secular’ or non bible stories for children (Julia Donaldson, Shirley Hughes etc) are so much better (well written) and more enjoyable to read compared to bible story books and as a result we find that after doing our devotional reading we (the children) prefer the non bible stories (like Topsy and Tim or the Gruffalo). However this is one they were keen to hear again and again. We would definitely be keen to read other bible stories retold in this way.
When I told my 6 year old son that we had a new book to read, and that it was about Moses and Pharoah, his reaction was to punch the air and shout ‘yes!’. He’s so intrigued by the Egyptians, and he loves the story of Moses so from the beginning ‘God’s Mighty Hand’ was bound to be a winner! We took turns reading the text to each other, and he seemed to enjoy reading the familiar story. What really made the book for him was the illustrations. They demand a second look, and a third, being full of interesting details. It was my son who first realised that a hand kept appearing in the illustrations – and it was him who first realised it must be God’s hand! The delight on his face, and I’d guess on mine too, at this epiphany was just a picture! We traced God’s hand at work through the story and the pictures. I loved that the authors point so clearly to Jesus at the end of the book, connecting the story to us right now. We’ll definitely be reading this book again, and exploring the illustrations further. A great read for both my son and for me.
I loved the rhyming element to it as it makes it more fun to read. I can see myself using a book like this for my youth group over a period of weeks where we follow the story through. They are girls and boys aged 6–8 and I think this will suit them. I also see it as a book for boys more than girls. I like the way the authors modernised the story by their use of words like “bro” and “Mr tough”. This engages with the audiences age and language and make the story more fun and readable. When reading it to a group I envisage ‘laugh out loud’ sections and a buzz factor which I love hearing when reading Bible stories to both church and non church children. They absorb the words and will get to see the overall meaning of the story as told at the end of the book in the paraphrase of God saving us. A lengthy book but simple to read in its rhyming format.
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God's Mighty Hand
Rescuing the Israelites from Egypt