While the children's book market offers a number of beautiful, theologically rich, and gospel-centered volumes, Mark's Marvellous Book by Alan Mann offers something I haven't seen before: A children's story Bible driven not by topic but by the text. Mann presents Bible stories from Mark's Gospel with clarity, precision, and a simplicity worth imitating. If you want to learn how to teach Bible stories to your children, read this book to them and learn to do what Mann does.
Mark's Marvellous Book has 18 chapters, each focusing on a single episode in the life of Jesus. Each chapter has:
* a one-word title stating the main point
* 5 storybook pages, applying the story's main point to a 4-6-year-old child
* a single-page explanation of the Bible story and its main point
* a memory verse from the story, again highlighting the main point
Perhaps you see where I'm going: Alan Mann gets the main points of these stories! And he centres his storytelling around those main points. (Dear fellow North Americans: Please don't be put off by the anglicized spellings of words like centre and marvellous. This book will serve all English-speaking families.)
Since Mann doesn't cover every episode from Mark, I felt a little misled by the advertisement labelling this book "A commentary on Mark for kids." Yet the book still won over both me and my two young daughters. I could barely get the book away from them so I could finish reading it for this review.
The physical volume meets all my standard expectations for a children's book: strong cover, good binding, shiny paper, sturdiness to take a beating. I'm grateful to Christian Focus Publications for providing a review copy.
I hope we see more books like this in the future. Mann has a great thing going here, and I would love to see similar storybook Bibles that expound texts with such skill.