Teaching Preschoolers the Promises of God (Book Review)

Lyell, Jennifer. The Promises of God: Storybook Bible: The Story of God’s Unstoppable Love. B&H Kids, Nashville, TN. 2019. 320 pages.

Over the course of this last year, I have started taking one day out of the week to teach my 4-year old niece and 2-year old nephew about God and the Bible. One observation I have made from these times is kids sometimes absorb more than we think. In the interactions I have had with my niece, in particular, she has communicated the truths we have learned, even without me initiating those topics in conversations. I have come to the realization that we as children’s ministry workers as well as parents and grandparents need to be intentional with these young hearts and teach them the storyline of Scripture so they can come to know the God who reveals Himself in it. It is with this same passion Jennifer Lyell has written The Promises of God Storybook Bible: The Story of God’s Unstoppable Love.

The Promise of God in the Stories of the Bible

With striking illustrations by Thanos Tsilis, The Promises of God Storybook Bible shows preschoolers a visual on stories of the Bible while teaching them the promises of God. It goes beyond just sharing well-worn and often-told stories, though. Lyell weaves the stories of Scripture with the thread of God’s promises. She shares a note to grown-ups before diving into 52 promises found in the Bible, 24 coming from the Old Testament and 28 coming from the New Testament. Each story opens up with the main point or promise before telling the narrative as it is found in Scripture. At the close of each story, the Bible reference is attached so the readers can know where to find the promise in Scripture. Each promise is a quick read, ranging from 2-6 pages, and concludes with a list of 3 or 4 questions for the kids to reflect on from the reading.

The Promises of God for Preschool Children

The book delivers on its promise as Lyell highlights the promises of God throughout each story she covers. Along the way, she introduces kids to big words like “covenant” (Lyell 42), “sin” and “sacrifice” (Lyell 48), and “sovereign” (Lyell 77), being sure to define and describe these terms in a way that preschoolers can grasp. While her full-time job is as the director of book publishing and merchandising at LifeWay, the parent or teacher reading this book to children will notice the experience Lyell has had as a preschool teacher at her church. This book deals faithfully with the character of God while formatting the content in such a way to engage preschool children.

The Selection of Stories

With much helpful content in teaching preschoolers about the person of God, the minor issue I found in the book did not have to do with what was in the book but what was missing out of it. After spending most of the Old Testament portion of the promises of God in Genesis through Joshua, the book jumps to the book of Isaiah and soon thereafter to the New Testament. While I understand an author cannot fit all of the stories pertaining to the promises of God in Scripture, I was curious why there was not more attention given to some of the Messianic prophecies and promises of the Old Testament that were then fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament. With the greatest and most central promise focused on the person and work of Jesus Christ, I found this to be wanting in a passage like Exodus 11-12 and the blood of the lamb. Nevertheless, the book still does an exceptional job at teaching preschoolers about the promises of God.

What Better Promise to Share

I would be remiss if I did not mention the person this book is dedicated to, in part. In the “Words of Gratitude” section at the end of her book, Lyell dedicates the book to the loving memory of Job Wilson Kemp, a 4-year old boy who lost his life but is now with Jesus. Lyell had the opportunity to teach him as a 3-year old and his questions about the Bible and God stayed with Lyell. The one Job asked questions about is now the one who Job is with in heaven. He is another example that kids are not too young to learn and that they need to hear the message of God’s faithfulness. Case in point, this is a great Bible storybook to use for anyone who has a preschooler in their life. If you are a preschool teacher at your church and you are looking for a resource that can assist you in teaching the Bible in a way that preschoolers understand, then check out The Promises of God Storybook Bible by Jennifer Lyell. If you are a parent of a preschooler and are wanting them to come to know God, then get a copy of this book and read it aloud for family devotionals. If you are a grandparent and are wanting to pass on the hope of God to the next generation, then pick up a copy and pass it along to your preschool grandchild as a gift. What better promise could you share!

I received this book from B&H/Lifeway Publishers in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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