The beauty is in the retelling

2nd December 2005 at 00:00
The Lion Illustrated Bible for Children. Retold by Lois Rock, illustrated by Christina Balit Lion, pound;9.99. www.lion-publishing.co.uk

In this retelling of the Bible for children, Lois Rock has chosen key events and people from the Old Testament, often grouped into themes, for example, "The Great Exodus" and "The story of the Great Kings".

From the New Testament, she has focused on the life and teachings of Jesus, ending with the Pentecost event. The effect is to create threads, through word and image, connecting the stories and the people. Each episode can be read separately, but they form part of a continuous narrative. Every cluster of stories has a short introduction to set the scene and to provide historical context.

The illustrations form a patchwork of glorious colours and reveal something of the essence of the material they exemplify. The illustrator, Christina Balit, uses an iconic style, creating pictures that are vibrant and imaginative, full of movement and life. The images are reminiscent of the art and culture of the Bible lands and the faces of the characters, like the stories they illustrate, speak of a whole range of human emotion and experience.

For schools, particularly pupils at key stage 2, this book offers simple retellings of key Biblical events that feature in RE syllabuses and on collective worship programmes around the country. Children will enjoy reading for themselves or listening to stories brought vividly to life and complemented by bold imaginative illustrations. There is a clear contents page and a useful index of Bible characters.

Alison Seaman is a freelance education consultant

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