I’m always on the lookout for engaging Bible stories written for younger children. I get especially excited about stories that cover less-well-written-about-Bible stories.
When the stories are expository, I’m super excited.
And when those Bible story books point to Jesus as the Lord and Savior, well, then I really like to let you know about them.
Stories about Jesus for Children
Your children will love these two uniquely told Bible stories about Jesus by Douglas Sean O’Donnell, a professor in Biblical Studies at Queensland Theological College in Brisbane, Australia.
Two Fat Camels
Two Fat Camels by Douglas Sean O’Donnell (CF4K, 2015) is a wonderful picture book on Luke chapters 18 and 19. The book is engaging, creative, and accurate, and the illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker are fabulous.
Mr. O’Donnell takes on the important subject of riches and idolatry in regard to salvation. By contrasting the story of the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-30 with the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector in Luke 19:1-10 with creative commentary added to the storytelling, O’Donnell creates a unique children’s Bible storybook. He successfully takes on a complex theme and simplifies it, while at the same time making it engaging and fun to read.
This was so much fun to read that I read it aloud to myself in the middle of my garden. I might have gotten a couple of strange looks from passersby.
Douglas Sean O’Donnell uses Luke 18:25-27 (ESV) as his theme: “Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.””
Thus, the hearts of two rich men become two fat camels. One fat camel turns away from the eye of the needle whilst the second “fat camel” repents, turns to Christ, believes on his Savior, and fits through the eye of the needle. Because what is impossible with man is possible with God.
The Dog’s Dinner
The Dog’s Dinner: A Story of Great Mercy and Great Faith from Matthew 14-15 by Douglas Sean O’Donnell (CF4K, 2016) is a great sequel to Two Fat Camels. Dare we hope for a series? Like Two Fat Camels, The Dog’s Dinner is illustrated by Gail Schoonmaker.
O’Donnell uses the theme of food (and a dog!) to illustrate God’s gifts to humans. He tells of the Father’s provision in the Garden of Eden, in the Promised Land, and later in the Wilderness. Kids are then led to relate God’s provision of food with His provision of a Savior–sent to save us from “sin and sickness, and death and the devil.” God’s people were looking forward to a Savior before the birth of Jesus, but also to a great feast.
O’Donnell tells the stories of Jesus showing his love and mercy by feeding 5,000 men and their families, and then 4,000 men and their families. He also includes the actual text of each Bible story in a sidebar–I love that!
The story of a woman begging Jesus to heal her daughter, and asserting that even dogs receive crumbs, is a tough one to stomach for many adults. Even so, The Dog’s Dinner does a good job of presenting the story for kids. This Gentile woman persisted in her faith, humbling herself and asking Jesus for mercy. While Jesus challenged her initially, he did heal her daughter, saying: “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” Kids will learn that the woman was fed not a great feast of food, but the Bread of Life–Jesus himself.
Purchase Two Fat Camels and The Dog’s Dinner by Douglas Sean O’Donnell
I’d like to thank Christian Focus Publications for sending me Two Fat Camels and The Dog’s Dinner in return for my honest review.
Truly, these are lovely books. If you have children or grandchildren under the age of eight, both would be a wonderful addition to your family library. They are delightfully imaginative, biblically faithful, and I expect they will become a favorite for many families.
Bible Resources for Your Kids
A Resource to Help Teach Kids About Life in the Womb
Your kids will love learning about life inside the womb with Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth, published by Christian Focus 4 Kids.
Wonderfully Made is a science- and Scripture-filled picture book for kids ages 5-11. The book is told from the perspective of a mother telling her child about his or her development in the womb week-by-week. In fact, Wonderfully Made is written to help parents meet the theological, scientific, and relational purposes of teaching kids about life in the womb.
You can also learn more about Wonderfully Made over at the book page.
Head over to the Thinking Kids Press store for your free Wonderfully Made posters, Bible memory verse cards, and lapbook!
They’re a great companion to the book Wonderfully Made, and the perfect way to teach your kids about life in the womb!
Autographed from Danika Cooley: Wonderfully Made: God’s story of life from conception to birth
Amazon: Wonderfully Made: God’s story of life from conception to birth
Amazon UK: Wonderfully Made: God’s Story of Life from Conception to Birth
Christian Book: Wonderfully Made: God’s story of life from conception to birth
Grab the autographed Reformation Family Bundle!
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