Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Blog Tour: The God Puzzle by Valerie Ackermann

 *****This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.*****

The God Puzzle is a fun way for children ages 7-12 to learn about the Bible through activities such as word searches, fill-in-the-blank activities, crossword puzzles “yes” or “no” learning/review questions, and pictures. Each lesson has a topic, “get the facts” section (where Bible verses are given to look up and there is an explanation about the topic), and sections titled “read it” (where the words in certain Bible verses are listed to read), “talk about it” (gives questions to be answered to help children understand what they learned), and “talk to God about it” (where thoughts/prayers are listed to talk to God and Jesus). The lessons are presented in an order that the children should follow well. A congratulations completion certificate, a chart listing the Bible books and the different kinds of books they represent, a list of some Hebrew names of God, a short topical index, and a place where children can write their favorite Bible verses are located in the back of the book.

I think that the outline of the book was great and I liked the layout, I just think some errors weren’t caught before it went to print. Usually I overlook a few errors.  There were typos. There were fill-in-the-blank activities that had errors, such as the one on page 85 that had too many spaces to fill in the letters for the “Amos” and “Zephaniah” words. There were also different places in the book where a Bible chapter and verses were listed that were incorrect or didn’t give enough of the Bible verse, such as one place in the book on page 137 in another type of fill-in-the-blank activity that says to look up Psalm 86:8 but it actually covers Psalm 86:8-10. I mention stuff like this because it can be confusing for children to look at Psalm 86:8 and try to fill in the rest of the blanks with only that verse when they need the other verses to fill in the rest of the blanks. I kept in mind that some Bibles may use the verses differently but it seemed like too far of a stretch in the wording for it to be a Bible translation situation. There was also a word search activity on page 172 that could be confusing for children; the children are supposed to find words in the word search about things “to keep the church telling people about Jesus/what my tithe pays for at church”. I didn’t see any words listed to search for and I think it might be hard for children to understand what words to look for in the word search, but maybe it would be easier for older children and harder for younger ones and maybe this is a new normal for word searches.

In my opinion, the book does do a great job of helping children to understand God and Jesus better, explaining how to use the Bible, what spiritual gifts are, etc. I think with some good parental/mentor help the book will be very useful. I could tell a lot of work went into it and I think another edit and reprint would make it even better.

My review= 3 out of 5 stars

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I expressed are my own. 

More About the book: 

The God Puzzle is a colorful, easy to use tool to help you communicate to your child the rich truths about God, His ways, His will and His love. The God Puzzle will help you address doctrinal themes of the Christian faith in a kid friendly way, present Bible lessons in an interactive way that will hold the child's attention and deliver quality teaching with no preparation needed. 75% of children leave the church when they leave home. Something isn't working. Sunday School isn't doing it all. Kids need answers, good ones. And they need them from you, the parent. This book enables you to give them simple, clear answers.

What makes The God Puzzle unique?

- ready made discussion questions for parent to ask their child in each lesson

- can be done at any pace that works with your 
family . . . every night, once a week, 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there . . . it fits into realistic family life

- puts the pieces together for a child to understand God, the Bible, and the Christian faith

- in each lesson the responds to the truth so they understand their relationship to God is personal and life transforming

- any parent, whether they know nothing, or a lot about God can start teaching their child today with no prep

- deep theology put into language a child can understand

- deeply Biblical, each lesson points to Christ

- put in an order that starts with creation, and teaches the Bible as one story that all points to Christ

- child stays engaged by filling in blanks, crosswords, drawing, matching and using their Bibles as they learn

About the Author: Valerie Ackermann has a BA in Theology and has been a full time Children's Ministry Director at Parkwood Community Church in California for over 10 years. She is also a weekly Sunday school teacher, wife, and busy mom of two boys ages 9 and 11. She has hands-on experience as a children's ministry professional, teaching and leading children of all ages. Growing up in a Christian family in the small town of Saskatchewan Canada, she has wonderful memories of knowing God from an early age. She has a passion for kids to know the deep truths of God. 

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