With summer just around the corner here are two picture books of retold Bible stories presented in an innovative and challenging way. Relax with your child and have fun with each of these.

Mix and Match Bible Stories written by Sally Ann Wright and illustrated by Toni Goffe (Concordia, 2011.)  asks you to put on your puzzle thinking cap and give it a go. Each page of this book’s sturdy plastic-coated pages is cut into thirds. Each third tells a part of a Bible story. The child must hunt through these cut-up pages to find and then put together the beginning, the middle and the end. For example, the third segment of the story about Noah states, “When the rain stopped.”

Initially, a younger child will need help; but soon he will remember clues from the pictures and words. Practice makes perfect just like when doing ordinary puzzles. To aid the adult the last page acts as a table of contents, showing pictures of the people of the Bible included in the book. Children will enjoy hunting from section to section in this unique way to “puzzle” through the Bible. My only concern is the durability of the spiral binding. As with pop-up books, care is needed.

Bible Story Search written by Tracy Harrast and illustrated by Steve Cox was published by Concordia in 2011. The book begins with the story of creation and asks the reader to find many things such as three butterflies, two parrots, six fireflies and so on. The hunt continues in the story of Noah with a search for two snails, two rats and two pigs. For the story of Joseph and how his twelve brothers sold him to a caravan, the reader has to find one grasshopper, two camels and three chariots. Cox’s colorful illustrations are crammed with details, adding to the can-you-find challenge.

Other stories in the book are: David and Goliath; the angel, Gabriel, coming to Mary; and Jesus choosing twelve helpers. The book ends with the Last Supper, Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Each page of the text is faithful to the Bible’s narrative but written in a child-friendly manner. A magnifying glass is included to help look for the hidden pictures. What a fun way to help children learn Bible stories! Each adult will feel like a kid again as they join the search.

Carol Green, a graduate of Northwestern, is married and the mother of three adult children. Her five grandchildren affectionately call her “Grams cracker.”

She is the published author of many poems for both adults and children; three coloring books: God Gave Me Five, ABC Fun Book, and Color God’s World Bright; and the picture book: My Mom Loves Me.

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