About a month ago I signed up to be a book reviewer for Thomas Nelson. At the time there weren’t many titles I was interested in reviewing, so I decided to grab the Read and Share Toddler Bible since we are always on the lookout for good kids Bibles.
Now, the book says that it is for ages 1-4, but I often felt that it was WAY below my 3 and 4 years olds. The stories were really short and the language was very basic. Perhaps this was exaggerated by the fact that we’ve been reading The Jesus Storybook Bible to both our kids since they were born, and it is neither short nor basic in its language.
In all, my biggest problem is that with the Read and Share Toddler Bible I kept feeling like something was missing. After thinking about it, I think that what I miss is the over arching story of the Bible. In the Read and Share Toddler Bible every story is its own neat little unit that teaches a point. The garden teaches us what happens when we disobey. Jacob and Esau teach us to be kind to siblings. Moses leading the people out of Egypt teaches us to trust God. Daniel in the lions den teaches us to pray. And Jesus dies on a cross “…so that when we do wrong, we can be forgiven.”
Now, none of that is “bad” or “wrong.” But where is the gospel? Where is man lost in his sin and in need of being reconciled to a holy God? Where is the fellowship that is broken in the garden? Where is the promised seed that flows through Jacob? Where is the promise land that points to Jesus? And where is the savior that doesn’t just die so we can be forgive, but to satisfy the justice and righteousness of the God we have sinned against?
The Read and Share Toddler Bible never seems to leave “Bible stories” and actually get to the Bible. Perhaps the author assumed that the parents would simply make the jump and connections where needed. Whatever the case, I always left our reading time with this book wishing it was something more.
In the end, I can’t recommend this toddler Bible. Right now, our go-to Bibles for the kids are The Jesus Storybook Bible and The Big Picture Story Bible. Both of these have set the bar for toddler and children’s Bibles very high as they both help point your children to Jesus and the Cross, not simply for forgiveness, but because as Sally Lloyd Jones so perfectly states, “Every story whispers His name.” Sadly, the Read and Share Toddler Bible didn’t live up to the standard they have set.