When I saw the Once Upon a Time Storybook Bible, I was intrigued. Where was Zondervan going with this? My kids love fairy tales, but if there's one thing my wife and I are trying to teach our children, it's that the Bible is NOT a fairy tale.
The 33 stories themselves are well-written for keeping my kids' attention, they cover about three pages each, including illustrations. They start with a title, like "The Battle of Jericho," followed by a related (or not-so-related) Bible verse touching on one of the themes from that story. A little more than half of the stories come from the Old Testament, and of those from the New Testament, all but two come from the Gospels. I would have liked to have more than just one story from the book of Acts, since Paul's travels alone were quite exciting material for a kids' book. The illustrations were fantastic and remind me of the movie The Prince of Egypt. They give a sense of realism that helps to emphasize the fact that these stories actually took place in the real world, not the world of make-believe.
At the base of the book cover it says, "The Bible is not a fairy tale. Every great story happened once upon a time." That assurance aside, my five-year-old seemed a little confused and asked me a couple of times, "Is the Bible real?" and "Did that really happen?" I'm not afraid of these questions and actually welcome them, but I'm not comfortable with a Christian publisher prompting these questions. Despite their good intentions, I'm convinced Zondervan made a mistake associating the Bible with fairy tales.
I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of providing this review.