I Want to be Just Like Jesus – Stephen Elkins

Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook by Stephen Elkins
Series: Wonder Kids
Published by Tyndale on October 1, 2015
Genres: Children's, Children's Educational
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three-half-stars

All parents want their children to model good character. And the best way to do that is to encourage children to want to be just like our ultimate role model--Jesus!
Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook is a collection of stories that will inspire kids to take on the character of Jesus. Each story highlights a lesson that Jesus taught--lessons like giving thanks, treating everyone equally, sharing with others, being patient, being generous, and more. Each lesson features a "Jesus in the Bible" story that shows Jesus' character and how He acted in particular situations. Flip the page, and children will find a section called "Jesus in Me" that will inspire them to model Jesus's behavior, conform to His character, and want to be just like Him! Each lesson ends with a short prayer through which children can ask God to help them develop the character of Jesus.

Forty.

That’s how many attributes of Jesus your little readers will learn about in Stephen Elkins new Bible storybook. Many Bible storybooks for young kids focus on the knowledge aspect of Scripture. Let’s teach them the stories. And that’s good, by all means! But it’s rather useless if not connected to how those stories should impact and influence our lives.

I Want to be Just Like Jesus is about exactly what it claims to be about: getting kids to understand the personality of Jesus and making his attributes their own. Some of the forty different attributes discussed include Jesus’ patience, humility, endurance, and confidence.

Each attribute covered takes four pages. The first page carries the attribute’s title in a sentence, “Jesus had a Pure Heart,” along with a Bible verse and an appropriate illustration. The second page is titled “Jesus in the Bible” and gives two short paragraphs about how Jesus lived out this attribute. The third page personalizes the attribute and focuses on “Jesus in Me” and, in one paragraph, makes the application to young readers’ lives. The fourth page ends with a prayer and the closing statement “To be just like Jesus, I will…”

My lone criticism, but it is a substantial one, is that the “Jesus is the Bible” section is completely devoid of Scriptural references. When the lone example lines up with the Scripture verse on the previous page, that’s fine, but often the author lists several examples and doesn’t provide context. Personally, I think it’s very important to always draw children back to Scripture, letting them know that you’re not just telling stories, but that this is a real thing that happened. It’s obviously a purposeful choice for space considerations, but I’m not a big fan of it.

Despite that, I Want to be Just Like Jesus is still one of the best resources for children I’ve seen. Though it’s labeled a Bible Storybook, I wouldn’t really call it that, because it doesn’t focus on Bible stories as much as it does character attributes. If you’re looking for a story format, this isn’t it. What this book is does it pick up where Bible storybooks leave off, going from the informational to the applicational. Perfect for Sunday School classes too!

three-half-stars

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