Text by Cecilie Olsen, illustrations by Gustavo Mazali
Scandinavia Publishing House, Copenhagen, 2003
Scandinavia Publishing House, based in Denmark, began with a monthly paper in 1973 and is now producing illustrated children’s books, children’s Bibles, illustrated Bibles and inspirational and gift books. Its titles have been translated into 80 languages. The complete product line is now being made available in North America for the first time.
The promotional material for My First Handy Bible states that "young children delight in carrying around the compact and colorful Bible — taking it to church, 'playing' church or cuddling up in a lap to have it read to them." My First Handy Bible is touted as meeting the need babies and toddlers have for their very own Bible.
There are 61 thick board pages in a cushioned plastic cover, complete with a bright yellow plastic clasp and a suitcase-style handle so a child can carry their Bible. We were very impressed by the quality of this book when we opened the package containing our review copy.
The full colour illustrations by Gustavo Mazali are bright and contemporary in style - none of the 1920s-vintage pastel pictures or pen-and-ink drawings on text-heavy pages of the children's Bibles of my youth. The stories, told in short, simple sentences, begin with Creation and proceed through the great narratives of the Old Testament - Noah, Joseph, Moses and the Exodus, Samson, Ruth, David, Esther, Jonah - to the story of Jesus, his birth, ministry, the events of Holy Week ("King Jesus," "the last meal," "Jesus is killed," "Jesus lives") and "happiness in heaven," author Cecilie Olsen's summary of Revelation.
My First Handy Bible is a beautifully done Bible for young children, ages one to three. It will appeal to parents, grandparents, nursery teachers and ministry leaders, and especially to the toddlers who will carry it by its handle and learn the stories of God's love as they are read.