Book Review: The Garden Children’s Bible from Zondervan

I remember getting a Children’s Living Bible for Christmas in 1972 when I was seven. Released in 1971, The Living Bible is a paraphrase that quickly gained popularity. It was a Bible that everyone could read and understand, especially if you had no prior experience with the Bible.

My Children’s Bible on the left (1972); my son’s on the right (2010)

When my youngest son (now 20) was about the same age, I purchased his children’s Bible. The NIV Adventure Bible was a great choice for boys aged 8 to 12. The Adventure Bible was a New International Version, a translation, and the same as any other NIV Bible on the shelf. The exception, of course, was that the Adventure Bible had illustrations and helps for the young reader.  

Now, Zondervan has just published The Garden Children’s Bible, with a new, fun look yet all the same help kids need when reading the Bible.

Why another Children’s Bible?

It’s important to note that the International Children’s Bible is its own translation; it is not a paraphrased Bible (like the Living Bible) or written in story form. It is a faithful translation from the original Hebrew and Greek yet written in simple enough English for kids to read independently. More recent terms for geographical locations and measurements are used, plus ancient customs, figures of speech, and idioms are addressed in ways that are easier to understand.

What is included in this Bible?

Taking a closer look, The Garden Children’s Bible offers excellent resources to help kids read and learn from the Bible on their own. Helpful lists included are Names of God, Miracles of Jesus, Kids in the Bible, Reading Plans, and more. For reading comprehension, key words are in bold, and are referenced in the Bible dictionary at the back of the book.

What makes this Bible different?

Besides being its own translation for kids, the difference this Bible offers is the exciting illustrations by Butch Hartman. Butch is a dedicated Christian and an award-winning illustrator and creator of iconic kids’ television shows such as The Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom. He is also the creator and executive producer of The Garden cartoon series.

Butch’s friends from The Garden, Lenny the Lion and Lucy the Lamb, are found throughout the Bible. These characters give nuggets of wisdom and answer questions. Besides full-page illustrations, there are full-color, multi-page comic strips based on The Garden cartoon series.

My Review

As a member of the BibleGateway Blogger Grid, I received a free copy of this product to give you a first-hand look. After reading through different Old and New Testament books, I can see how this translation is a good fit for today’s kids. The full-color illustrations are fantastic and not overly “cartoony.” However, Lenny and Lucy are very much cartoons and give young readers Bible facts, advice and encouragement.

The only negative I could mention would be about the highlighted Scripture boxes with a verse and caption: “The Boss says.” (See photo below) This may make sense if your child is already a viewer of The Garden series. Simply saying “God says” would have given more respectfulness and better context.  

Here are some more benefits of The Garden Children’s Bible:

  • Good-sized, comfort print
  • Bible book introduction pages
  • Helpful Bible Dictionary
  • Footnotes for additional explanations
  • 50 Scripture-based prayers throughout
  • Gold bookmark to keep your place
  • Illustrated book cover with removable dust jacket
  • Black and white illustrations inside front and back covers to color

Is it worth the purchase? 

The Garden Children’s Bible would be an excellent choice if you wish to purchase a children’s Bible. Even if your child is not a viewer of The Garden series, they will appreciate the illustrations, comic strip stories, and the characters of Lenny and Lucy. It has everything a child needs to comfortably read the Bible, understand its truths, and apply them to their lives.

Watch Butch Hartman talk about The Garden Children’s Bible on YouTube.

Purchase The Garden Children’s Bible at the FaithGateway Store

At the time of posting, the hardcover edition of The Garden Children’s Bible is only $24.49. If you are a first-time FaithGateway customer, add your name to the pop-up for 15% off your purchase!

Another option is the eBook for $14.99, a great edition to add to devices if your family is always on the go!  

Purchase The Garden Children’s Bible through Amazon.

Disclosure: I am a Bible Gateway Blogger Grid member, part of Bible Gateway. As a Bible Gateway Partner, I sometimes receive free products or materials to read and give an honest review, with all opinions as my own. Any Bible references in my posts are linked to for the reader’s convenience.

As the Internet’s most-visited Christian website, Bible Gateway seeks to equip people to read and understand the Bible wherever they are. Millions of visitors from more than 200 countries regularly come to set up personal accounts and freely read, hear, search, study, compare, and share the Bible in 200+ versions and 70+ languages. Bible Gateway also offers the Plus membership service that upgrades your Bible study experience with additional features.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: