The Jesus Book, by Stephen Elkins
The Jesus Book, by Stephen Elkins is by far one of the best books written for children, on the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, and ‘whys’ of Jesus. The fact that it is illustrated by Claudine Gevry, makes is even better – we love her work!
The Jesus Book is written in such a simplistic way, that even my 5-year old was engaged in the story. The book starts with “Who Jesus Is”, and breaks it down with, in my opinion, “just the facts” based on scripture. Each chapter features the verse in the Bible that the story is based on, so you can dig into the scripture for more details should you choose to. By the time you get to the chapter, “Jesus said he is…”, your children have a pretty good grasp of who Jesus is.
From there, it goes into the acts and miracles Jesus performed (What Jesus Did), to the teachings of Jesus (What Jesus Taught).
One of the pages I particularly enjoyed was the timeline (When it Happened). I’m a pretty visual person, and seeing the timeline just made it easier to explain to my children.
Where it Happened, explains the geography of where Jesus spent his life; complete with maps that are simplified for children to understand.
I’m always concerned when authors try to approach the subject of Jesus’ death on the cross. Generally, it’s either not fully explained, or explaing too much. In The Jesus Book, Mr. Elkins hits the perfect balance of explaining WHY Jesus was crucified, as well as HOW he died. Nothing graphic, but not flowers and sunshine either.
Finally, the last chapter, How It Happened, discusses eternal life and salvation (including a simplified version of the Sinner’s Prayer), and how we should live our lives as Christ-followers.
Both of my boys thoroughly enjoyed this book. More importantly, they seemed to fully grasp the content of the entire book. Like I said in the beginning of this review though, I feel that Claudine Gevry’s illustrations were the perfect partner for Mr. Elkins’ story.
I highly recommend this book for children ages 2-7.
PS: The 30-song CD (included with the book) was a big hit with the boys as well. Thirty of your favorite Sunday school songs!!