Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Review: The Big Picture Interactive Bible

In the summer of 1980, the same season in which I became a Christ-follower, the church I was attending presented me with my very own Bible, the Good News Bible for Children by the American Bible Society.  This Bible came to church with me at Cross of Life Lutheran, and I used it from age nine until I was a teenager.  The translation was easy enough for me to understand, and I enjoyed the illustrations.  Many pages simply had the scripture text, but every once in a while I would be treated to some simplistic line drawings that would flesh out the concepts on the page.  And on a few special occasions, there would even be a full-color print to look at as well.

My Bible from 1980
Examples of Occasional Illustrations

Fast forward to 2014 and I’ve found the modern, much augmented version of what I had as a girl.  Holman Bible Publishers, in association with B&H Kids has produced the Big Picture Interactive Bible. Like the Good News edition I had as a child, the Holman Christian Standard Bible version is a good translation for young readers, printed in its entirety within this particular volume.  The recommended age range for the Big Picture Interactive Bible is grades 1-4, or age 6-10. The things that set this Bible apart from my childhood text are many.

To begin with, the Big Picture Interactive Bible is just chock full of illustrations.  They are plentiful throughout, sometimes taking up just a portion of the page, and in 146 other instances, taking up an entire page.  Some are classic-looking prints as presented in my vintage Bible, but most are fun, childlike images as you would see in an animated movie or comic book.  They are very pleasant to the eye and definitely pull your interest in. 

Other features include:
  • Kid friendly introductions for every book in the Bible, covering who wrote each book, when it was written, the main theme, and how each book fits into the big picture of God’s word.
  • The Big Words Feature: Taking up a small portion of some pages, this feature profiles a particular term as you would find in a Bible dictionary, along with color illustrations, photos and/or maps.
  • Big Questions/Big Answers: These short Q&A moments are like mini trivia questions, encouraging kids to be attentive to content, and clarifying some issues as well.
  • Christ Connection: Jesus’ story does not begin in the Gospel of Matthew.  He is there from the very beginning.  The Christ Connection moments help to connect the whole of scripture to Jesus and His work in our lives.
  • Verse to Remember: Many kids memorize commonly-known verses like John 3:16, but sometimes they don’t know where to go from there. These purple-arrowed highlight moments give readers 100 recommendations for verses to commit to memory.
  • Seeing the Big Picture: To quote the writers, “In this feature we dig into key Bible stories to help young hearts and minds grasp the meaning and provide parents with that little extra to discuss the Bible with their kids.”
  • HCSB Bullet Notes: Listed in the back of the book, these notes explain commonly used biblical words or terms.  It’s like a mini-dictionary.
  • Index to many Bible stories
  • Topical concordance for kids
  • Full-color biblical maps

Probably the most innovative feature of the Big Picture Interactive Bible is the option to bring the 146 full-page illustrations into multiple dimensions. By downloading the free BHKidsAR app to your smart phone or tablet, you can scan the page for some amazing results.  From a visual viewpoint, the main focus of the illustration will seem to leap off the page while viewing it onscreen.  It literally looks like the Bible has become a pop-up book through the lens of technology.  I’ve seen this technique used before on another app, and it’s quite extraordinary.  Think of it as your iPhone becoming like the 3D lenses you would wear at the movies.  The drawing just pops out!  In addition to this Augmented Reality (AR), audible narrative content is read by Jenna Lucado, giving insight into the image that has emerged. When I used this app with my eight year-old son, both of us were riveted in that moment.  What a great way to give a short Bible lesson to kids!

3D Illustration:  Screen Capture from My iPhone

All of these features are fun and educational, but the bottom line is this: Do they draw kids into scripture?  Do the “bells and whistles” point them to Christ?  Thinking back to that little nine year-old girl I was in 1980, I think this would have been a blessing to me as I began my walk with Christ.  Ultimately it’s the Holy Spirit who will truly educate our children in understanding God’s word and applying it to our lives. However, the tools that have been inserted into these scriptures seem to be a great addition.  Must we have these things in all of our Bibles?  No, of course not. However, they make a great supplement, much like biblical commentary books and seminary lectures are for those who are becoming well-versed in the scriptures as adults.  B&H Kids has done quality work here, and I look forward to enjoying the fun and enlightening extras of the Big Picture Interactive Bible along with my son for years to come.

Connect with B&H Kids

Story Book

A copy of this title was provided for review purposes only. No other compensation was given.

About Big Picture Interactive

The Big Picture Interactive suite of products work as companions to LifeWay's The Gospel Project for Kids, a Christ-centered Bible study resource currently used in 6,000 churches, which follows a chronological timeline of Bible events-presenting the story of redemption through Jesus like kids have never seen it before.


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