For nearly two years now, Abigail and I have been reading through The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos for homeschool. We started it the first day of preschool, and have read one story a day. We finally read the last story yesterday, now that kindergarten is almost over.
This is an absolutely excellent book for children to read through the stories of the Bible. We owned it even before we began Veritas Press, and it turned out to be the Bible storybook that they recommend, so that is what we chose to use for our Bible curriculum. It has several features that are worth a big thumbs up.
It is extremely thorough, as you might have guessed by the length of time it took us to read every story. Some chapters are broken up into sections, and we read only one section a day, not the whole chapter. That added many days to our reading. You could get through it faster by reading the whole chapter in a day, but each section was long enough to stand on its own, so we just read the sections. It covers every Bible story that you could think of from your Sunday school days. It also has sections and chapters that cover background information, such as describing the feasts, the tabernacle, the division of Israel, the journeys of Paul, the preaching of Paul, the legacy of Paul, and John’s vision on the island of Patmos. We used The Big Picture Bible Timeline coloring pages to accompany the stories, and we averaged 1-2 pictures for every five stories because of the thoroughness of the story book.
Another feature I loved was the language used in the stories. There were many, many times when I was reading a story to Abigail and recognized the very language of Scripture. The author tells the stories in narrative form, but uses verbatim Scripture phrases throughout. One good result of this, I realized, is that the child will become that much more accustomed to hearing the cadence and tone that is so distinct to Scripture. I also liked knowing that using the words of Scripture guaranteed that the story stayed true to the Bible without straying off the point or including too much of the author’s own interpretation.
The book also includes beautiful illustrations sprinkled throughout. Abigail loved looking at these when there was one corresponding to the story for that day.
On reading the preface to the revised edition, we learn the incredible origin of the book. Catherine Vos’ mother told these Bible stories to her as she was growing up. Catherine then told them to her own children when they were small, who began to ask to read the Bible stories for themselves. Catherine searched for an existing Bible storybook that would be faithful to Scripture and convey the natural excitement and warmth of the stories. Finding none, she undertook the monumental task of writing them herself. The book first appeared in three volumes, appearing from 1934 to 1936. It was combined into one volume in 1940, after Catherine’s death. Her daughter, Marianne, is responsible for the revised edition that we have.
I, for one, am thankful for one mother’s diligence and determination to provide her children with a solid, true-to-Scripture, engaging story book, and then to make that book available to parents everywhere to share with their own children. These stories were easy for Abigail to understand, and she repeatedly got caught up in the emotions of the stories. I treasure the two years I spent with her in these pages, and look forward to starting again at the beginning this fall with Catherine. I highly recommend The Child’s Story Bible to any parent looking for a Bible storybook to read to their children.