The Biggest Story
written by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark
published by Crossway (2015)
jacketed hardcover, 132 pages, 8.8 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
Children often learn Bible stories without understanding how each story fits into the story of the Bible as a whole.
To address this, Kevin DeYoung wrote The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden.
In ten short chapters, The Biggest Story takes readers through the biblical plot line and also develops two important themes.
First, how the Old Testament connects to Jesus’ life and mission. Second, how Jesus makes it possible for God to live with His people again, as He once did in the garden of Eden and will do again (Revelation 22).
The Snake Crusher is Jesus, of course, and the name comes from Genesis 3:15, where God says,
“I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (NLT).
Fast-paced storytelling, with touches of humor, will engage upper elementary and middle grade children (and probably their parents too).
Striking illustrations by Don Clark, drenched in color and pattern and sometimes symbolic, invite everyone to linger.
A Note to Parents at the back tells how The Biggest Story came to be written and provides more details about the two themes developed in the book.
One choice of words, repeated several times throughout the book, I would change when reading this book aloud with children. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden, the author writes that God “kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden Paradise he had made for them.” Kicked them out feels vindictive to me, which God was not, and I think “God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden” would have been a better choice.
The Biggest Story has something to offer every family, whatever your current level of Bible engagement.
Children who already know a lot of Bible stories will recognize them as the narrative unfolds and see how the stories they know fit into the whole. Children not as familiar with the Bible will be introduced to it and, I hope, enticed to learn more.
About These Reviews and Recommendations
My career as a children’s book editor, acquisitions editor, and editorial director greatly influences my response to books. I have seen a LOT of manuscripts and books. I have high standards for text, illustration, book design, and the purpose of a book. (This is a nice way of saying I am slightly jaded and quite particular.)
I understand too that parents, grandparents, and others who buy books want and need good value in the books you choose. Your book budget is not unlimited.
I’m not writing these reviews as hype or promotion for fellow author’s books. I do care about helping authors—after all, I am one. I understand the effort authors pour into every book and the hopes they have for each one. The books I recommend, however, I’m choosing because of the merit I see in the book, no other reason.
I want to point you to the best books more than I want to point out books I don’t like, so I won’t be writing negative reviews. If I can’t support a book, I just won’t write about it. At times, however, I may note details or features I would have changed in a book I otherwise recommend. This is to help you make your own decisions about what books are right for your family.