Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: ESV Grow! Bible

When I recently received a package from Crossway, I opened it and discovered a new Bible designed for the "tween" crowd--8-12 year old children. I currently have one child in this age frame, and two older and two younger than this. As my regular readers know, this is not the first Bible for tweens which I have reviewed. So, the question is, how is this one distinctive?

Every single one I have reviewed to date has contained some type of features that someone, somewhere has decided kids this age should have. Often the editorial team is pretty insightful, and produces some nice Bibles. Other times I see a few features I may scratch my head over, or which although they sounded good on paper haven't translated well to the actual product.

So, how did this tween Bible fare?

Honestly, very well. I love the black font color. Black is simply easier to read than other colors I have seen printed in other Bibles. The font size is good, as well. Not too big so as to make the size of the Bible difficult to carry or make the child feel he is carrying a "little kid" Bible, yet not too small for those still reading chapter books. Enough color and illustrations within to add interest, yet not distract. In short, it is well-designed, and I am pleased.

Here are some of the features I noted:
  • 775 "W" Questions--Answering the who, what, when, where and why's of the text, these are interspersed throughout the chapters, with roughly every couple of pages containing one. These responses answer crucial questions tweens are likely to ask themselves as they read the text, bringing comprehension to the material. 
  • 90 4U (For You) Boxes--Providing simple answers to passages many young people need a little explanation about--what being born again means, what baptism is, etc.
  • 45 Cross Connections--Tied into various key Scripture passages, these discuss Jesus' atoning work on the cross and point tweens to Jesus and their need for a relationship with Him.
  • Introductions to the Bible books (and sections)--these provide the "big picture" for older children. Expect key stories to be highlighted here, as well as information on the author, date, key people and key messages for tweens to take from the material.
  • Articles and Charts--Colorful, these support the main purpose of this Bible--a focus on Jesus and on understanding God's Word. Mostly interspersed throughout the text, a few are also included following the glossary.
  • Glossary--Ten pages defining key words. Enough for this age frame.
  • Timelines and Maps--Always helpful to make sense of the events encountered, each book's introduction contains a timeline which should prove helpful. A few additional timelines are included in the back. Maps are colorful and relevant, though this Bible does not contain an extensive collection of them. Really, sufficient for this age, though.
This Bible meets our family's needs for this age frame, and I am delighted to be able to allow my own children to use it. Be sure to check the Crossway blog for additional titles.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from Crossway in the hopes that I would review it for them. No other compensation was received, and opinions expressed represent my own and that of my family.

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