For many people, the Bible can seem like a collection of unrelated stories. This can be especially true for children, because many times that is the way they are taught stories from the Bible. The truth is, however, the Bible’s stories not disconnected or unrelated. In fact, they tell one big story. All of the stories creation in Genesis all the way to new creation in Revelation tell the story of God’s redeeming love, and that He keeps His promises. Conveying this to children can be a challenge. Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung has a children’s book titled The Biggest Story (Crossway, 2017). The book attempts to convey the storyline of the Bible on a level that kids can understand.
The book breaks up the biblical story into ten chapters. Each chapter briefly how the Lord used certain people and events in each generation to continue the story of redemption. The illustrations by Don Clark provide a visual guide to the story being told. DeYoung does a good job of threading the gospel through the storyline. This allows the reader to see the true hero of redemption on every page. The hero? The snake crusher Jesus, himself. It’s all about Jesus.
The one criticism that I have for the book is that the story itself is too short. As Christians, we are people of the Word. Yet, there are many gaps in the biblical story throughout the book. There are entire pages that are nothing but illustrations with only one or two lines of text. I’m not sure the author’s intention in doing that. It may have been to allow room for family discussion, which could be a good use for that space in the book. However, I personally believe that the book needs more meat (text) to it. The storyline itself is great, but it would benefit from being expanded.
Crossway also published a companion book for The Biggest Story that is a board book for younger readers titled The Biggest Story ABC, also by Kevin DeYoung and illustrated by Don Clark. This version of the book also walks through the storyline of the Bible, but in an ABC format. Each letter corresponds with a different aspect of redemption history. DeYoung does an excellent and clever job of telling the story of God’s redemption chronologically (i.e. from Genesis to Revelation) and alphabetically. For example A is for Adam and Eve, starting in the garden and the first creation (Genesis 1). The letter Z is for Zion, ending the book in the new creation (Revelation 22). The illustrations by Don Clark are very similar to the illustrations in The Biggest Story. However, they are paired down a bit to make them age appropriate.
In way of recommendations, I personally found The Biggest Story ABC the more enjoyable of the two books. As a board book meant for children 1-3, I found that it was more cohesive and better put together. However, on the whole, both books are good resources to guide children in understanding the story of redemption. Any opportunity to put the Word of God in the hearts of children is not wasted. The Lord has promised that His Word would not return void, but will accomplish what He sets out for it to accomplish (Isaiah 55:10-11).