Book Review: The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlers, by L.J. Sattgast
Covenant Library section: Children
Every parent should have in his or her arsenal a variety of Bible story books to establish and maintain a daily Bible reading routine. Young children need different books from those who are older. This is one that our (Van der Hoek) family used as our children’s earliest introduction to the stories of Scripture, and we love it. It got read over and over till we knew it all by heart. The Rhyme Bible Storybook for Toddlerscontains twelve stories from the Old Testament and fourteen from the New Testament. The simple rhymes of the text are pleasing to the ear and easy for wiggly listeners or early readers to understand. Some complex stories, even the Joseph story, are admirably—and accurately—framed in concepts familiar to toddlers. For this audience, brevity is truly the soul of wit.
Of all the great rhymes in this little book, the Christmas story is one that approaches the lyrical. A talented composer could make a new carol out of it (hint, hint). The colorful and playful illustrations of Toni Goffe enhance the rhymed stories. My personal favorite is the plague of the frogs on pages 62-63. For “graduates” of this book, there is also a larger Rhyme Bible Storybook for ages 4-8 by the same author and illustrator which is not in our library collection.
Book Review: The Stories Behind the Hymns, by James McClelland
Belfast: Ambassador Productions, 1983.
Covenant Library section: Music
The way some hymns came to be written is truly amazing. Did you know that one hymn was written on a dare between two sisters? Another was inspired by a summer thunderstorm. One very famous children’s hymn was taken from a novel that has since been forgotten.
Some triumphant hymns are born of tragedy: a man whose fiancee turned him down because he was going blind; one writer struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies; others were bedridden or faced persecution and loss. What can we say of the Scottish hymn-writer who twice (years apart) was to marry, but in both cases his bride-to-be died the day before the wedding? He ended up a lonely bachelor in Ontario, Canada, where he wrote some comforting verses for his ailing mother back in Scotland. The verses got into the local paper. A copy of the paper was used to wrap a parcel that was sent to New York, the recipient saw the verses on the newspaper wrapping, sent it to a publisher, and as they say, “the rest is history.”
These hymn-writers were men and women, young and old, wood-carvers and theologians and housewives and dairy farmers. God enabled them to distill their faith and Christian walk into verse to encourage and inspire all who would come after them. In this short book, McClelland has written anecdotes about how 33 well-known hymns came to be written. It’s an easy read that will certainly deepen your appreciation of worship singing.