The Spark Story Bible: Spark a Journey through God’s Word is one of so many children’s Bibles. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the variety and unsure which is best for your bookshelf. So, here at ICM, we’ve compiled our thoughts in this blog series where we’ll be reviewing some of today’s most popular children’s Bibles. Once you find your fave children’s Bible, check out our post on ways of reading scripture with your kids to get the most out of it!
Quick Facts about The Spark Story Bible
- 456 Pages
- 100 Bible Stories
- Age Range: 4-8 years old
- Storybook format (retelling of some of the Bible)
- Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Publication Year: 2009
- Awards: 2016 Illumination Book Award Winner
A Closer Look
There’s no perfect choice for all children everywhere or even for your own child. Each children’s Bible is a mix of aspects to love as well as those that invite palm to forehead moments. In this series of reviews we’ll always include what we think to be the pros and cons of each Bible and whether or not we’d recommend it to our friends. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at The Spark Story Bible: Spark a Journey through God’s Word.
Pros of The Spark Story Bible
Engaging Illustrations: Illustrators, Peter Grosshauser and Ed Temple, create dynamic, vibrant illustrations in a cartoon style. They’re simple and often comedic in presentation. Additionally, they are large enough to make for effective storytelling to a group.
Appropriately Illustrated Characters: Figures are shown with olive skin and dark hair, honoring the Bible’s Middle Eastern context.
Table of Contents Included: Having a table of contents makes for easy reading, especially if a child has favorites they like to return to repeatedly.
Digestible Story Length: The stories, which are retold compilations of several chapters, are short. This aspect makes it easy to hold the attention of young readers.
Classic Stories Included: All the classic stories you’d hope for from a children’s Bible are included here. This exposes children to the foundational texts of the faith.
Mostly Familiar Story Titles: The story titles aren’t all the same as those found in the Bible. However, the ones that are different are so similar to the biblical ones that the children likely wouldn’t have trouble transitioning to a Bible.
Non-Gendered Language: Throughout the stories, the editor refers to the Divine as God, neither male nor female. Children can then imagine God more expansively and are more likely to understand that, no matter their sex, they are made in God’s image.
Large Font Size: The font size is large enough for children new to reading, making it easy for them to stay motivated and focused on the story.
Nameplate Included: A nameplate page is included for gifting the bible to a child. A parent, children’s director, teacher or family member would appreciate this.
Activities and Questions Included: At the end of each story, there is an activity or question for the children to explore. These neither moralize or editorialize the story but simply invite participation.
Cons of The Spark Story Bible
No Biblical Passages Cited: Each retelling of a biblical story lacks the biblical passage from which it was taken. The editor misses an opportunity to increase biblical literacy here and encourage further exploration.
What’s up with Squiggles? Each story includes an illustration of a caterpillar named Squiggles. Its purpose is somewhat unclear. It’s not really relevant to the story – but perhaps it’s purpose is to create a “Where’s Waldo” element to the Bible reading experience. Something fun for kids to look for, with the hopes that it might engage them in the illustrations. We’re not 100% sure.
Children’s Bibles are all different, each with good qualities. The Spark Story Bible has a lot going for it. The illustrations are engaging and culturally appropriate, story length is digestible, the font size is large enough for young readers and reading to a group, a table of contents is included as well as the classic stories you’d expect with mostly familiar titles, non-gendered language is used. The children’s Bible includes a nameplate for easy gifting along. And lastly, the author includes questions and activities at the end of each story to encourage participation.
While The Spark Story Bible doesn’t include scripture references, and the Squiggles character seems a bit odd (and not really needed), these are minor issues.
In conclusion, we recommend The Spark Story Bible: Spark a Journey through God’s Word for use in faith education at home or in the church.
We hope this review has been helpful and has given some food for thought. Share what children’s Bibles you have and love in the comments below!