Book Review: My First Hands-On Bible from Tyndale House Publishers

Title: My First Hands-On Bible
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Published: September 2015
Edition: Pretty Pink deluxe edition
Publisher’s Suggested Age: 3-6

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

This Pretty Pink deluxe edition of My First Hands-On Bible is the preschooler version of the popular Hands-On Bible, which has sold nearly one million copies. Jesus taught with hands-on lessons and illustrations; My First Hands-On Bible uses the same experience-based learning to communicate God’s Word in an active, understandable way.

My First Hands-On Bible is a fun and simple, yet meaningful way to engage preschool, prekindergarten, and kindergarten children (ages 3–6) with the Bible while helping them build a solid faith foundation. Each lesson focuses on a specific Bible point through a variety of activities in order to reinforce and help young children remember the stories and lessons. Using common household items, you can help your children have a “hands-on” learning experience while engaging them in 85 key stories from the Bible.

My First Hands-On Bible doesn’t just retell the Bible stories; it also includes actual Scripture from the easy-to-understand and easy-to-read Holy Bible, New Living Translation. In addition to the stories and activities, there are fun illustrations, prayers, and a special Jesus Connection feature.

My Thoughts:

When I first saw this Bible, I was drawn to the adorably pink cover. [Note: it also comes in blue imitation leather as well as standard paperback and hardback editions for the less pink-enthusiastic among us.] I presented it to my four-year-old daughter, who was thrilled to have her own Bible, and even more excited that it was pink. With the imitation leather cover it looks like a “real” Bible, versus a storybook, which makes her feel all grown up.

We’ve been reading this Bible together for a while now, and my daughter recognizes the pictures of Pockets the kangaroo (who appears in the margins with her hands folded in prayer), and tells me that it’s time to pray. Too cute. The prayers are well-written, short and sweet with easy vocabulary and sentence structure. Best of all, they relate the story we just read back to the child’s life. I read a short phrase at a time and my daughter repeats it after me. I think this may be our favorite part of our Bible reading time.

For the most part, the hands-on activities included within the story (and marked in the text with a colorful handprint) are pretty simple, fun, and easy to incorporate. We’ll do some and skip others (or save them until the end of the story) depending on my daughter’s level of engagement at the time and what’s involved. Examples include pretending to be animals, rocking like you’re on a boat, identifying/counting things in the illustration, making sound-effects, acting out parts of the story, etc. They’ve been great for keeping my daughter actively involved.

This is the first Bible I’ve owned in the New Living Translation. This version does seem easier to read and understand than many other translations, as advertised in the product description. And I love the fact that this is a children’s Bible that goes verse-by-verse using big sections of a standard translation of the Bible to tell the individual stories. That said, it’s not uncommon for us to come across words and phrases in the text that are unfamiliar to my four-year-old, and I find myself pausing to explain or rephrase. I would’ve loved to see simple definitions of some of these words included in the margins alongside the hands-on activities. Not a deal-breaker in my opinion, but maybe something to consider in a future edition?

I look forward to continuing to read this Bible with my daughter on a regular basis. And I’m thinking of getting a blue copy of the Hands-On Bible (meant for older kids, ages 6-12) for her big brother. If you’re in the market for a children’s Bible, My First Hands-On Bible could make a great choice.

Thank you to Tyndale House for providing a complimentary copy of this Bible for review purposes.

Quick Links: About the Book | Publisher’s Web Site

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