Deborah and the Very Big Battle – Tim Thornborough

Deborah and the Very Big Battle Tim Thornborough 2
Deborah and the Very Big Battle by Tim Thornborough
Also by this author: Moses and the Very Big Rescue, Deborah and the Very Big Battle, Moses and the Very Big Rescue
Series: Very Best Bible Stories
Published by Good Book Company on November 2020
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Teach children that listening to God is always the very best thing to do with this fun retelling of the story of Deborah for 2-5-year-olds.

This is an innovative and faithful retelling of the story of Deborah from the book of Judges, with bright, vivid, fun-filled illustrations by Jennifer Davison and actions so that kids can join in.

Children of 2-5 years olds will discover what happened when God’s people stopped listening, and how God rescued them when two of his people, Deborah and Barak, started listening, and how he helped them to win a very big battle.

Children will learn that listening to God is always the very best thing to do.

The story of Deborah is beautiful, complex, and nuanced. Its story has been misused and abused, with Deborah being portrayed as only in her position because there were no competent men, with Barak being portrayed as cowardly and weak-willed, and more as a proof-text on male/female relations and women in leadership than for the beautiful narrative it actually is. All of this made me very nervous going into Deborah and the Very Big Battle.

This series from The Good Book Company always begins by suggesting some interactive prompts. In this book, readers and listeners are told to put a finger to their lips every time a person speaks, a hand on their ear every time a person listens, and to point to their hand every time a person does something. This interactive element is a unique addition that helps children understand the story and make it a part of their lives.

Deborah and the Very Big Battle is a fairly straightforward retelling in child-friendly terms. The people of God have stopped worshipping Him and instead worship pretend gods. It’s not until Sisera and his army squishes them and squashes them that they realize how silly they’ve been and cry out to God. And God sends Deborah.

When God spoke, Deborah listened. The illustrations portray Deborah sitting under her palm tree dispensing her prophetic wisdom. When God tells Deborah and Barak will destroy Sisera’s army, Deborah immediately tells Barak. This is where the story often goes a bit off the rails and Barak is seen as weak-willed for asking Deborah to come into battle with him. Not so in this story. Deborah and the Very Big Battle rightfully portrays men and women working together through the Holy Spirit to defeat evil. Deborah prophesies. Barak implements. Deborah leads. Barak follows. And Yahweh gives them the victory. (Sidenote: one of the final panels shows Sisera running away from the fight toward a tent…a tent where Jael is waiting, tent peg in hand.)

It’s a beautiful, eye-catching retelling of the biblical story that cuts through all the baggage often lumped onto this story and simply says it as it is: Deborah and Barak each serve God through their own unique callings. They work together to defeat their enemies. And then they sing about it in victory. It’s the most accurate, most faithful, most enjoyable child’s retelling of this story that I’ve ever seen.

five-stars