Book Review – Tales that Tell the Truth (The Good Book Company)

I was so encouraged recently by talking to a dad at church about how he is working hard with his son to introduce him to the bible and how they are learning together about God’s goodness to them. And I’m sure so many families across our church family are trying to do the same. There are a multitude of books and resources out there to help families do this, but it’s often hard to know where to look.

A few years ago we were introduced to a book called ‘The Storm that Stopped’. We loved it and have loved every other book in that series since (more importantly our children love them!). They are from the Good Book Company, who have set about trying to bring to life well-known bible stories in a new and refreshing way. To date they have brought out 8 books aimed at ages 3-6 under the banner of Tales that tell the Truth, and they don’t show any signs of stopping soon (see listings later on).

So what sets these books apart from the many other bible stories that are already available in book shops and online?

There are 3 things about this series that make it stand out:

  1. Accuracy – the stories hold really true to the teaching of the bible, often including small details that are in the bible but not taught in other children’s books. They work hard to make sure that if it’s in the bible, it’s in their book, and if it’s not, it’s not, so as you read you can be confident that what you read is from God’s word.
  2. Engagement – the stories are brilliantly engaging in how they are written and presented. Different authors have contributed with the different titles, but all with a similar engaging style, and the illustrations across all the books are done by the same brilliant author who brings the characters to life. The stories are written to engage both the head and the heart; don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn in by the emotion of the stories as you too are reminded about the awesomeness of our God.
  3. Teaching – quite often children’s bible stories tell a lovely story but have little or no teaching in them. Whenever we engage with the bible we need to ask ourselves how it remains relevant to us today. In Tales that tell the Truth, key teaching points are weaved into the stories from the first page until the last, making it clear how that story forms part of God’s great plan for his people, and how it remains relevant today, both to us and to the children we read with.

With a registered retail price of £9.99 the books aren’t cheap, although you can often find them for around £7 directly from the Good Book Company or on 10ofthose.com. While the target age is 3-6, some of the books would be great for older children too. Here is a brief summary of each book to try to help you decide which one to buy first!

The Christmas Promise (2014)

‘A long long time ago – so long that it’s hard to imagine – God promised a new King’. This brilliant retelling of the Christmas story helps us remember that Jesus wasn’t just a baby in a manger, but a New King, a Rescuing king and a Forever King. A good one to start with if you’ve got a 3 year old.

The One O’clock Miracle (2015)

‘Puffing and panting, the man walked and walked – and sometimes ran – because he NEEDED to see Jesus.’ Experience the emotional rollercoaster of the Official in John 4 whose son is desperately sick, and meet the kings of kings who only has to speak to make him well again.

The Garden, The Curtain and the Cross (2016)

Surely the best of an excellent bunch; everyone in the church family would benefit from reading this book! Explaining the storyline of the whole bible, the Garden the curtain and the cross is so helpful in seeing our need for Jesus and how we fit into God’s master plan. ‘God says it’s wonderful to live with Him. But because of your sin you can’t come in. BUT Jesus died on the cross to take your sin, so all his friends CAN now come in.’

The Storm that Stopped (2016)

‘Jesus had finished teaching the crowd, and now he had something to teach his friends…’ Help your children discover who Jesus really is with this superb version of the calming of the storm from Mark 4. Perfect for ages 3-6 but older children may engage with it too.

God’s very good idea (2017)

‘This is God’s very good idea: lots of different people enjoying loving him and loving each other.’ This book is fantastic for helping children see how humans are all different, in the beautiful diversity that God has made, but also all identical, in their need for relationship with Him.

The Friend who Forgives (2018)

‘A long time ago there was a man named Peter who was best friends with Jesus.’ Journey through the ups and downs of Peter’s friendship with Jesus and you see that Jesus is a friend who forgives again, and again, and again. Probably better suited to 5-8 year olds.

Jesus in the Lion’s Den (2019)

A different take on the well-known story of Daniel and the lion’s den, helping us to see how bible stories can point us in the direction of Jesus. This is the one story in the collection that I haven’t read but there is a video about it on the Good Book Company Website if you want to find out more. It looks good for the 3-6 age range.

Goodbye to Goodbyes (2019)

This is an excellent retelling of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11), which reminds us that Jesus came to put an end to death and separation from God. ‘…one day, Jesus and all his friends will say goodbyes to goodbyes – forever.’ Currently our children’s favourite, it is well-suited to 3-6 year olds but there is plenty for older children to engage with too.

And the series doesn’t stop there! Set to be released in February 2020 (this month!) is Jesus and the very big surprise, a story about Jesus’ return and how to be ready, and then lined up for June 2020 is The Prisoner, the Earthquake and the Midnight Song, a retelling of Paul, Silas and the Jailor from Acts 16.

Do have a look and see if any of these books would be good for your children, or as a present for someone you know. I couldn’t recommend them more! As you strive to teach the children in your family about how much God loves them and wants them in His family, why not do so with some Tales the tell the Truth.

Paul Smith