Crossway’s ESV Children’s Bible is marketed for kids from 5-10 years old. It contains features aimed toward that age-group, but still has quality features such as Smyth sewn, opaque paper, and consistent print. This Bible has a lot going for it. Even though it’s a children’s Bible, it’s not a childish Bible. I think this Bible works well beyond that age-group.
Opening the Bible you’re faced with the ESV text in double-column paragraph format. It looks grown-up. It has around a 9.5-point font that’s a medium to dark boldness. It has blue section headings, green chapter numbers, and a red header that includes the page number in the middle and the book, chapter, and verse numbers on the outer edge. The different colors don’t scream “for kids only”. I would use this. It’s text-only, so there are no footnotes.
The next thing you’ll notice is the more than 200 full-color illustrations that appear throughout the text. These are highly detailed drawings in comic book style. They give a visual perspective on key Bible stories such as Noah’s Ark, the parting of the Red Sea, The Good Samaritan, God questioning Job, the Fiery Furnace, the Prodigal Son, etc.
It’s not just actual events that are illustrated. Parables and teaching illustrations are also brought to life in the detailed comic-book style artwork. For example, running a race, love one another, etc. I like the drawings a lot. They don’t look like drawings you’d expect to see in kids’ books.
They make it easy to visualize the setting without making it seem childish. These are the kinds of drawings that I like to preach from. If I could place drawings in my Bible to preach from (something I have dreamed about) they would look like this.
After the ESV text is an 11-page dictionary (which includes theological bias), God’s Word for Me When…, God’s Word for Me About…, List of Illustrations, weights and measures, Old Testament Timeline, New Testament Timeline, and 8 color maps on thick glossy paper.
I love the text, blue colors for section headings, and the artwork. This leads me to one of two conclusions:
Since every adult I showed it to loves the look of the artwork and features, I’m going with choice #2: adults will like it too. I honestly don’t see this as just a Bible for 5-10 year old’s. The artwork is better suited for teen-adult, and nothing makes the text look like it was designed just for kids. It uses the same fonts as adult Bibles and I think all age-groups will like the colors of the section headings, etc.
Children will like the ESV Children’s Bible and it’s well suited for the age-group (just be careful of the theological bias in the dictionary and teach your children to study the Bible for themselves). The colors and illustrations would appeal to children, but they’re not so cartoonish that an adult wouldn’t want to use it. For this reason, I recommend it for children and adults that want a text-only ESV with nice illustrations throughout the text.
Crossway provided the Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review – only an honest review.