Saturday, October 20, 2012

My First Handy Bible

Book Review

I often complain about the lack of aesthetics in most churches and ministries today. Once upon a time art in the church was all about giving God the best, not “our best” but “the best”, whether we’re talking about music, art, or even the Sunday morning bulletin.  It’s all a matter of how we view God. 

Is He worthy of the best? 

Let me ask this: if the president was coming to visit our church, would we settle for what we do every week, or would we try to up the ante and maybe hire in some professionals to give him an experience that’s worthy of his visit. 

How much more for the King of Hosts?

Is it any wonder that so many find the world more attractive?  At least they seem to care about and believe in what they’re doing enough to spend some effort and money on it.

This may seem like a strange rant to walk down for a review of a Children’s Bible, but often times I see Christian publishers doing the same thing: just throwing together some half-baked artwork for their cover, and crummy stories that took probably all of ten hours to write, draw, and color for children’s books.  

And then I there’s the Handy Bible. 

The book itself isn’t all that impressive.  Its gimmick is a cheap plastic handle and a cheap plastic latch that keeps it closed.  Imagine a tiny briefcase.  But inside . . . inside it’s amazing!

They hired professional cartoon artist Gustavo Mazali to illustrate the Bible stories, and the scenes and imagery are just gorgeous.  I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was about the artwork.  He has a style similar to Sam Butcher’s Precious Moments, and if you were just thinking about the commercialized version of his work, I’d encourage you to check out the Precious Moments Chapel and some of his finer paintings.  I think Mazali is much better at expression than Butcher was though.

My son loved the stories too, though at three, he wasn’t as excited about the professional quality of the art.  Someday he will be.  I learned to draw by copying out of a picture Bible, and maybe he will too.

At any rate, I highly recommend this book, but also all the other selections from Scandanavia Publishing with illustrations by Gustavo Mazali.

About the Book

As soon as they can talk, most little ones begin asking for a Bible to hold in their very own hands. Now, from Denmark to America, comes My First Handy Bible (Scandinavia Publishing) for babies and toddlers, with all the best stories from Genesis to Revelation. Young children delight in carrying around the compact and colorful Bible—taking it to church, “playing” church or cuddling up in a lap to have it read to them. My First Handy Bible has huge appeal for parents, grandparents, teachers and children’s ministry leaders, but especially for the kids!

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