We’re entering the time of year when second-graders throughout the United States will be receiving their First Communion. What kind of gift should you get this child? A rosary? A crucifix necklace? A wall crucifix? All of these are good options, but my favorite gift, my go-to gift, is always going to be some kind of book. Today, I have two such recommendations from you, both from Ignatius Press. They are entitled My Catholic Bible and A Missal for Children.
My Catholic Bible is an illustrated Bible for children ages 7 and up. It begins with an introduction on what the the Bible is and how to read this edition of the Bible. It is then naturally divided into the Old Testament and New Testament with further divisions based on overarching themes. For example, the Old Testament addresses Creation, Abraham, Exodus, David, etc. The New Testament divides itself into Jesus’ parables, miracles, His death, and His Resurrection. It also speaks of the first Christians, St. Paul’s journeys, and the end of the New Testament.
Each section begins with a brief introduction and the Scriptural reference. Each section then contains a mixture of story and actual Biblical quotations, which are identified with italics. At the end of each section, there are references/stories that put the section into a historical context. The pictures in this book are prolific. It’s not merely one every five to ten pages, but they are on almost every page. I would describe the illustration style as watercolor. Using this illustration style creates a soft and inviting touch. The writing style is very approachable for young readers, but it doesn’t dumb down the truth of the Word of God. The presentation style caps this off as it has gilded pages, a ribbon bookmark, and comes in a gift box. This is the perfect Bible to give to your first communicant.
A Missal for Children is a portable semi-leather book that is designed to help children understand what the Mass is and participate more fully in it. It is also designed to help children with morning prayer, evening prayer, and Confession. The book, therefore, begins with the meaning of the Mass and a guide to the Liturgy. These explanations contain information about Liturgical colors, the Liturgical Year, and the mystery that is the Mass. The book is then divided into the different parts of the Mass – Introductory Rites, Liturgy of the Word, Liturgy of the Eucharist, the different Eucharistic Prayers, and Concluding Rites. Each section contains a brief introduction and all the prayers of the Mass. The prayers of the Mass are numbered, because there is also a brief explanation on each individual prayer.
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with this book. It is of high quality, so it hold up to the frequent use of weekly Mass. It is beautifully illustrated to help enhance learning and keep the attention of young minds. It is also useful for times outside of Mass, including family prayer and it contains a glossary of difficult terms and objects your child will see when attending Mass. This book will stand the test of time and be of use to your children throughout the rest of their elementary years!
Copyright 2016 Stuart Dunn