I tend to write about a lot of picture books here at Story Warren, but there’s another format that has been growing in my esteem over the past year: the board book! Both with the babies and toddlers in my library story times, and with my one-year-old nephew, I would be lost without the sturdy, dependable board book. The concepts are simple, the colors are bright, and—best of all—the pages can be turned by little hands that often don’t know their own strength.
Often stories from picture books are adapted into board book format for younger kids. It doesn’t always work well, for reasons of length and story structure, but I’ve recently been enjoying two excellent board books that come from a text you probably already know and love—The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Published over the last two years and with new illustrations by Jago, Loved is the JSB text of the Lord’s Prayer, and Found is the text of the 23rd Psalm. Both are the perfect length of board book; twenty pages, with only a phrase or sentence on each page.
I was having a chat with a friend the other day about the difficulty of finding good Bible books for toddler/preschool ages, that have both engaging illustrations and are the right length to fit with a Sunday school lesson but not so long that the group starts to squirm. I think Found and Loved are a perfect fit for that kind of group use, but I confess I’ve most often been reaching for them when it’s my turn to read a bedtime story to my nephew. Predictably, I find my own heart calmed and stilled as I read Sally’s beautiful paraphrases of those well-known Bible verses. The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 were the first two Scripture passages I ever memorized, and it’s so refreshing to rediscover them with a childlike perspective. I particularly love Jago’s illustrations of a lamb on each page of Found; it’s an easy character to connect with (and also very cute!). It’s not unusual for me to be blinking away a few tears as I reach the final page reminder of “God’s never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”
I’m so thankful those words are in this format; I love seeing little ones carry board books around and sit on the floor with them, hold them upside down, or turn the pages the wrong way. I know they won’t remember sitting on my lap and sharing these stories about God’s love with me; but the experience is shaping both of us, just the same.
Featured image courtesy of SallyLloyd-Jones.com