TAN Books has been an established Catholic publisher for years, always producing quality books that are edifying to read and a pleasure to own. Here recently, they have started focusing on producing quality children’s books as well, which is great news indeed, because if you want your children to grow up to be adult Catholics, you have to instill the faith in them early. Today, I would like to tell you about four of those books. The first two are The Monks’ Daily Bread and The Monks’ Stormy Night. Both of them are written by Sylvia Dorham and illustrated by Christopher Tupa. The other two books are The Catholic Comic Book Bible, which consists of The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles.
The Monks’ Daily Bread introduces us to the monks who live in the Archangel Monastery. It shows us their daily chores, schedules, and routine. However, unlike normal days at the monastery, there is no food to eat this particular day. Their leader, Father Abbot, tells them that Jesus will provide for them and insists that they all get to work since there is currently no food to eat. As the day goes by, and the monks continue to work, pray, study, and learn, they grow more and more hungry. Eventually a delivery truck with food arrives, and the monks are saved. Father Abbot reminds them how Jesus fed the multitudes, and all the monks give thanks.
In The Monks’ Stormy Night, the winter season has set in at Archangel Monastery and snow is everywhere! Unfortunately, the monks again are having some drama in their lives. This time they have food to eat, but no furnace to keep them warm. The monks have to put on more clothes, but still continue about their daily routines. However, in the middle of the night, things go from bad to worse as lightning knocks over a tree and cuts out the electricity and the water pipes have frozen and burst. Eventually the sun returns, and the monks remember that God is with them in bad times and good times!
These two books are short (each approximately 30 pages) and cute in both wording and illustrations. The story has a sing-song feel to it with some simple rhyming on each page that will appeal to younger children. The illustrations have a Sunday morning comic feel to them, and I would describe them as vibrant in color and full of life and whimsy! What I like best about these books is that on the last page is a Scripture verse that related to the story. This gives your child something to memorize and take what they learned to heart. I love these books and I love TAN Books for stepping up their selection of children’s books!
The Catholic Comic Book Bible is currently composed of two volumes – The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles. This is very fitting, because these two books actually read like one book broken into two parts. Each volume is $14.95, which can be a little steep, if this turns into a 73 volume set, but as a Bible collector/enthusiast, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay it. The translation used is the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) and illustrations are done by Neely Publishing. The illustration style has a pencil-sketch feel to it and at times it comes off a little crude. However, it serves its purpose and is not so garish that it distracts from the text, which is where the real value lies.
The books do a wonderful job of creating a Bible but giving it a fresh take for younger eyes. For starters, this isn’t an abridged version or paraphrase, your child will get the complete text of Luke and Acts. Your child will also be able to reference exactly where they are, as there are headings on the top of the pages, chapter breaks, and each verse is individually numbered. The text is formatted in a way that the narrative parts and the spoken parts are distinctly separate and it creates a nice flow and presentation.There are also footnotes at the bottom that give alternate translations of the text as well.
Overall, I am highly impressed with these two books. The Catholic Comic Book Bible is another example of the New Evangelization. This is a very appealing Bible for tweens and teens and perhaps even young adults. I hope to see this series continue, perhaps with some Old Testament books like Genesis or Exodus. If you have teenagers in your household and want them to read the Bible, then I recommend this series for you and them!
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Copyright 2018 Stuart Dunn
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