Monday, February 22, 2016

VeggieTales Bible NIrV

The VeggieTales Bible uses the New International Reader's Version and is specifically geared toward children. It is hard backed and standard book size, so it wouldn't be good for little children. The NIrV is written on a level that would be easy for the average 7 or 8 year old to read and understand. I would put the recommended age range for this bible to be 7-11.

At the beginning of each book, there is a page long introduction that includes a summary and key features of the book such as important people, verses, themes, and stories. Scattered throughout the text of each book are particular verses that are highlighted to memorize. Other verses are highlighted as important concepts. 

There are ten, four page comics throughout The VeggieTales Bible that tell a condensed version of ten of the VeggieTales stories that tell bible stories. At the end of the bible, there is an "Index to Veggie Values" that guides children to verses dealing with specific topics such as forgiveness, pride, and trusting God. After that, there is a dictionary that gives a simple definition of potentially unfamiliar words and phrases such as Baal, judge, and Zion. The last few pages of the Bible are left blank except for lines for notes.

All of these features are easy to understand and be used by children. Overall, The VeggieTales Bible is full of color and formatted in such a way that is attractive to children. The features included are helpful and will help children gain a deeper understanding of the biblical text. I'd recommend this bible to anyone looking for a bible specifically geared toward children. Please note, this is a review of this particular bible, not the NIrV translation. 

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Confessions of X by Suzanne Wolfe

The Confessions of X by Suzanne Wolfe is a fictionalized account of the woman St. Augustine of Hippo was in a relationship with for many years prior to his conversion. She is the mother of his son Adeodatus, and while she is referred to in Augustine's Confessions, she is never named.

Not much is known about this woman, though she played an important part in Augustine's life and eventual conversion. In Wolfe's version, she is the daughter of a poor tradesman who is left in the care of an emotionally distant aunt and uncle. It is her status as a non-Roman citizen of the lower class that prevents a formal marriage between her and Augustine, not a lack of love or devotion. They live as man and wife for many years before his ambition creates a crisis point for them. Without giving anything away, the story continues to follow X's life until the moment of Augustine's death.

I was intrigued by learning more about the life of this unnamed woman. While Wolfe admits she took some dramatic license (which she points out and corrects in a note at the end), I really appreciate her creating a believable and engaging story within the framework of the few known facts. The Confessions of X starts somewhat slowly, and includes much more description than dialogue, of which I am normally not a fan. However, after the first few chapters, I was invested in X and what happened to her, and the story flowed effortlessly. It was entertaining and easy to read. Historical fiction can sometimes be spoiled because the ending is known. This was not at all the case with this book. I was connected to the characters and felt the events with the surprise and dismay they did.

Overall, I would recommend The Confessions of X by Suzanne Wolfe to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, a bit of romance, the plight of women in the ancient world, or the life of St. Augustine.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255