Is Waldo in the Bible? (a kid’s book review)

The Bible Detective: A Puzzle Search Book by Peter Martin, Illustrated by Peter Kent

One of my goals as a Christian parent, is to pass on my faith and understanding of scripture to my children. So I am always on the hunt for creative ways to teach my kids about the Bible.  Most Children’s Bible’s dumb down Bible stories and slap a moralistic lesson on the end.  Very few Christian kid’s books help kids dig deeper into the Biblical story.

Bible Detective is a sort of Biblical Where’s Waldo? where young readers can hunt for various people, animals or cultural artifacts as they relate to various Biblical stories. So, for example, the first scene is of “Noah, the good herdsman” has two colorfully illustrated pages.   We are given a picture of a village of ancient Mesopotamia and readers are instructed to look for a guffa with wild animals in it (it explains what a guffa is), men and women drinking beer with a straw, soldiers wearing leather helmets, a man spreading tar on a guffa, wild animals, reapers, Noah’s wife grinding grain, bronze tipped weapons, Noah’s sons driving a goat heard, riverside pools, people playing a board game called Ur, an Olive press, a woman carrying water from the river,  women doing laundry, a boy fishing on an animal skin float, hunters using a bow and arrow, and a charioteer being unkind to the poor.

A rather busy scene, like all the scenes in this book. There are sixteen in all, each related to a biblical tale (scripture references printed) and with the approximate years given (time frame is much broader in the case of Noah than in some of the later stories). These scenes give young readers a window into the cultures that these stories happened in and I found it fun reading this book with my daughter and explaining various elements on the page.  There are children’s Bible’s which do a good job of telling the Bible stories, but the strength of this book is that it gives kids a fun way to learn some of the background (Ancient Near East cultures and Ancient Rome) which will help them to read their Bible’s well and awaken their imagination about how it all happened.

Of course my daughter is only five and didn’t have the attention span to go through more than a page or two of this book at a time (the puzzle search books she has are not quite this complicated).  I think this book is a great book for children slightly older than my own. However, if you do read it with younger kids you will still have fun and there is a little red fox which is hidden in every picture for them to find.  I would recommend this for young readers and Bible lovers. There is an answer key in the back for parents who also can’t find items (I used it myself, there is no shame here).

Thank you to Kregel Publications for providing me a copy of this kid’s book in exchange for this review.

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