Two New Additions to our Faith that God Built Book Collection

As a mom to a preschooler, I can't help but express my sheer love for books that offer a cumulative style of reading. For those who may not be familiar with what a cumulative tale is, it's one that starts with a line and then builds up to a story that goes back and forth through repetition of the previous lines. 

A good example of this is from a nursery rhyme called The House that Jack Built:

This is the house that Jack built.

This is the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the rat that ate the malt. That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat that killed the rat. That ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the dog that worried the cat. That killed the rat that ate the malt. That lay in the house that Jack built.

The reason why I love these so much is that they help my child really engage in the story and even give him a chance to read it, before he's actually learned how to read. You see, he's able to remember the repeating lines and actually chime in with what they are as we progress through the story.

We have a few cumulative tales in our home library–Our Everyday Harvest readers may even remember my recent review of one such tale from the Faith that God Built Book series, A Patch on the Peak of Ararat. My son loved this story so much, so when I discovered that author, Gary Bower, would be releasing two new books in the series, The Frightening Philippi Jail and The Hurry-Up Exit from Egypt, I knew that we had to add them to our library.

The Faith that God Built series by Gary Bower uses the same whimsical style of storytelling as The House that Jack Built, using rhyme to introduce preschoolers through second graders to favorite Bible stories. Gary has a well-developed talent for creating engaging narratives that also teach biblical truths through rhyme.  In The Frightening Philippi Jail, Paul and Silas praise the Lord in a difficult and unfair situation.

Both books are able to tell two different Bible tales by using fun, rhyming prose that will appeal to younger children. I know that my son loves a good rhyming story. At the same, each book follows a chain of repetitive lines that always leads back to the first line in the story. Again, I can't stress how wonderful this is for children who don't yet know how to read, because it gives them a chance to help engage in the story and makes them eager to learn.

Now I do have to admit, that both stories, although told in a perspective that is child-friendly, aren't necessarily sugarcoated, either. In The Hurry-Up Exit from Egypt, Moses is trying to help his people flee Egypt, so there are some lines of text that refer to the anxiety and fear that the Israelites experienced, and how they thought they were going to perish before they ever made it out.

These are the Israelites thrown in a fit, panicking, scampering lickety-split. On scurrying feet that were frantic and fleet on the hurry-up exit from Egypt

In The Frightening Philippi Jail, we are reading about two missionaries of God, Paul and Silas, who are imprisoned in a filthy jail with criminals. 

These are the bugs and rats and the slugs that crawled on the crooks and the thieves and the thugs. Who sulked in the cell with the horrible smell in the frightening Philippi jail.

In addition to offering encouragement from God's word, the Bible does contain some not so pretty stories, as well. In one way or another, our children will have to eventually learn these stories, as they proceed with their Bible studies. Gary Bower does a nice job at telling these tales in a real, yet, mild mannered way that won't necessarily frighten young children. Plus, he leaves readers on a happy note with an encouraging scripture verse at the end of each story.

I am such a fan of all three books that we currently own in the Faith that God Built Book collection, and can't wait to add more to our library. The cumulative style of writing that's included is a wonderful (and fun!) way to share Bible stories with young children, while giving them a chance to engage in early reading.

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