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Monday, June 17, 2013

"The Action Bible Handbook" (Sergio Cariello)

TITLE: The Action Bible Handbook: A Dictionary of People, Places, and Things
AUTHOR: Sergio Cariello
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers, 2013, (224 pages).

Written as an easy reference for children, this handbook continues the "Action Bible" series of publications that supplement the traditional Bible material with cartoons and colourful illustrations. With names of Bible characters, places in the biblical lands, as well as definitions laid out for important terms used in the Bible, this book is an ! to Z reference goldmine for children or anyone involved in children's ministry. Designed for use together with the larger volume "Action Bible," each term is then referenced with the exact Bible passage and page number from which the term is taken from. This makes it easy for novices and children to find out exactly where the terms come from. The description is intentionally kept at a children's level, especially elementary school level, so that children at that age group can use the handbook independently like a dictionary.  The colour and pictures will help keep the children more ready to open the Bible as if it is a colour and picture book. In fact, the book itself can be easily mistaken as a comic book. Yet, for a children's reference book, I am impressed with the level of detail given in the description. For example, the segment on birds, from doves to sparrows is an eye-opener not only at a children's level but will arouse the common interest of adults too. The different diseases are explained in a way that brings out how terrible they can become. Some of the articles will be new to those of us adults as well, especially those lesser know characters like Elymas, Ish-Bosheth or objects like Urim and Thummin;  or cities like Lydda and Mahanaim.

That said, books like these are meant to be a reference to give a quick explanation of terms. For serious study, it needs a bigger and more comprehensive supplement. At the same time, remember that the illustrations are the best guess effort of the author, and not necessarily the exact replica of the biblical contexts. The handbook's illustrations are to be understood as the author's interpretation of the events.

Recommendation: Great for kids and for teachers needing a reference book in children's ministry. For a reference work like this, buy the printed copy instead of the Kindle version. Due to the high graphics, loading and page turning takes a longer time and may be frustrating for many readers. Having a printed copy in front of kids will give them a chance to touch and feel the book. That is so much better than simply swiping or tapping keyboards on a computer.

Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by David C. Cook Publishers and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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