Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Big Red" Holy Bible - Contemporary 3-D Art, a Review

The "Big Red" Holy Bible - Contemporary 3-D Art is a bible targeted for young readers, recommended for ages 6-12 or a 3rd grade reading level.  The bible uses the International Children's Bible translation, a translation I had never encountered before this review.  The best description for this bible is from the Booksneeze website.
The same "Big Red" Bible that you've trusted for 25 years . . . now with updated, fresh, 3-D art for today's video-game generation. A full-text of the International Children’s Bible translation with bright Red cover and ALL NEW contemporary art, that was created especially for children ages 6 to 12. “Big Red” has been updated with an all new collection of beautiful full color pages, illustrating treasured Bible stories. Inside the type is big and readable for this age group. Kids will love having a Bible to take to church that’s easy-to-read and understand!
I initially requested this bible because I thought the illustrations and simple translation would be good for my brother-in-law in 3rd grade.  The illustrations are all computer generated, designed to look like something from a video game to attract such a young audience, but I found most (if not all) of them off-putting and bland.  I'm not sure if a young kid would be impressed with these or if they would find the illustrations cheesy.  Personally, I didn't like how "white-washed" most of the people were, though I fully expected it in our Americanized version of Christianity.

As for the translation itself, the ICB seemed pretty straightforward and understandable, though slightly clunky.  I do think a 3rd grader could read from this translation with few problems, but there may be some places with difficulty.  I read through some of my favorite passages and used it for a few days alongside my morning studies, and I didn't like the way some of the sentences were structured.

One thing that I liked was the dictionary in the back and the use of footnotes throughout.  The dictionary has plenty of entries that would be useful for a child when coming across an unfamiliar word.  The footnotes are your standard biblical footnotes, offering cross-references or "Other versions add..." and the like.

Overall, the "Big Red" Holy Bible - Contemporary 3-D Art is not something I could see myself buying for my kids or really recommending for others.  The bible is riddled with illustrations, but proportionally they are severely lacking.  For the most part this seems like a simplified translation with occasional illustrations tacked in at random places.  The provided dictionary & memory verses at the back are nice resources, but in no way unique to this particular bible.  If you're looking for a children's bible only for some easily understandable text, then perhaps this is the one for you.  If you're wanting something with more bells & whistles, perhaps more color and not endless pages of text, I'd skip out on this one.

*FTC Thingy: This bible was provided to me by Thomas Nelson Publishers and Booksneeze free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  There were no cookies or pies or delicious cakes involved in this transaction, though if there was, I certainly wouldn't be telling anyone about how delicious they were.


Marie Cloutier said...

sounds disappointing. :-( better luck next time.

ibeeeg said...

I am curious about the translation. I tend to avoid the newer translations that are out there...I hate the feeling that publishers feel that their readership needs to have "dumb-down" language thrown at them in order have an understanding of the text at hand....not saying this is true for this translation as I am unfamiliar with it. I usually stick with New Kings James or NIV versions for me and my children.

Too bad about the illustrations through. I do find value in good illustrations with children for the great potential an illustration has to draw a child into the text. I do wish that Biblical illustrations would lean towards the realistic coloring of someone who lives in the middle-east region.

David Wagner said...

I find the idea of a 3-D bible to be quite odd to begin with...

Now, share some of those delicious cookies already!

logankstewart said...

@Marie: Aye, indeed. Thanks.

@ibeeeg: Well, the translation is definitely "dumbed-down" to a 3rd grade reading level, and I feel that there are probably things lost in that process. I grew up reading KJV, and while there were things I didn't understand, there was plenty I did get. (And what I didn't, I could ask mom or a Sunday School teacher or something!)

Truly, the illustrations were very disappointing. I can't blame the publisher, though, as they're only following the rest of our culture.

@Dave: Well, the 3d part may be misleading. This doesn't require glasses or anything like that, but the illustrations are 3d CGI as opposed to classically illustrated 2d drawings.

There were no cookies involved... None, I tell you...