Book Review – The Church History ABCs

Children’s books on church history are rare, good ones even rarer and ones that can appeal to all ages rarer still.  The Church History ABCs by Stephen J. Nichols and Ned Bustard is a children’s book that certainly falls into the latter category.  You would think that a book about church history would be geared towards older children and a book about ABCs would be to kindergarten-age children.  How then does Nichols and Bustard manage to quite successfully marry the two concepts?

Each letter of the alphabet features a prominent figure from the history of the church.  There are the more well-known ones such as Calvin, Edwards and Spurgeon.  But there are also some not-so-well-known people like John Donne, Hippolytus (“Let’s get one thing straight, my name is Hippolytus, not hippopotamus”), Tertullian, Vivaldi and Florence Young.  Each person is accompanied by a brief informational snippet about that particular person, written from his or her perspective.

The beauty of each letter/person is that every piece of information can stand on its own depending on the age of the children.  For instance: “’A’ is for apricot, apple and Augustine – Africa’s ancient bishop.”  That alone is enough to teach a younger student to associate a letter with a name as well as other common items such as an apple.  For the student that is a little older, the biographical information can be included.  For the more curious/able student desiring to know more, there is still further information about each person at the end of the book.

The real fun part, however, is in the illustrations and can probably be turned into a game of sorts.  Hidden in each illustration are clues about that person that will be answered either in the brief biographical sketch on the same page or in the fuller paragraphs at the end of the book.  For example, “A” is for apricot and apple, but why is there a pear on Augustine’s page?  What’s up with the heart John Calvin is holding?  Why on earth is Jonathan Edwards wearing an Indian headdress and eating chocolate?  Why is Spurgeon holding a sword and a trowel?  The subtleties in each illustration make discovering more “secrets” about that person all the more interesting.  (And don’t think we didn’t notice the cigars in Spurgeon’s pocket!)

This is an excellent resource for children of all ages to learn about great people God has used down through church history.  I’d give this book 6 out of 5 stars if I could.

(Thanks to Crossway’s Homeschool Book Review Program for the opportunity to read and review this book.)

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3 Responses

  1. […] Eskypades: “This is an excellent resource for children of all ages to learn about great people God has used down through church history.  I’d give this book 6 out of 5 stars if I could.” […]

  2. I agree! We loved this one too. I love, love, love that it can be used with such a wide age range! Here are my thoughts: http://homewithpurpose.blogspot.com/2010/07/family-discipleship-part-4-church.html

  3. […] first is The Church History ABCs by Stephen J. Nichols.   Each letter of the alphabet features a prominent figure from the history […]

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