Thursday, December 3, 2015

Children's Book Review: God's Servant Job

Douglas Bond and Todd Shaffer collaborate to present you and the young ones in your life with “A Poem with a Promise”: God's Servant Job. Bond reworks the Ancient Near East verse into a readable, bouncing poem for children of all ages. The meter is easy and true—except for a few notable breaks when sinful dialogue is prominent, ultimately leading to better poetry and influence. Bond follows remarkably well to the text we’d find in modern translations, putting new words to ancient ideas that had me thinking: I’ve heard this before! And of course, what else would we want from a book that attempts bring Scripture to the hearts of little ones? Bond is sure to add a poetic exposition of what he believes to be the central thrust of the book of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” and to relate it to the fulfillment of this truth in Jesus. He also includes a “Big Words,” “Quiz,” and “Let’s Think!” section which will aid parents and Sunday school teachers in discipleship, or even the self-motivated learner. (There are several ‘chapter’ divisions as well.)

Shaffer contributes excellent artwork to partner along the text. If you look at the cover picture, you will get a grasp of the overall style: angular, an almost ‘sketched’ look which seems to remind us of the temporal gap between this world and theirs. The color palette ranges, though, finding appropriate hues to show us the spectrum of the story: from bright heaven, to Satan’s technicolor; from dusty potsherds to the vast mysteries of God’s creation—the mood fits.

All in all, this book is great at the theological, aesthetic, and audience level. I do have a few recommendations for the author, and one disagreement.

First, the least controversial: I think the Big Words section could have included a few more (e.g. covenant, cornerstone, Redeemer).

Second: just preferentially, I would have liked to see an extra stanza devoted to Christ as the fulfillment of the Job typology.

Third: I do not believe that Elihu was condemned in concert with the three other friends of Job. Scripture itself is silent on this matter, but the author says, “My servant Job has seen the light, / But you, his friends, go nothing right.” The illustration likewise includes Elihu amidst the others. The author seems to recover from this when in the “Let’s Think!” section he highlights a parallel between Elihu’s words, Job’s words, and the message of the book.

Those recommendations notwithstanding, this is an excellent addition to any children’s library; even an adult’s. It accurately retells the story found in Job including some of its most famous lines, with simple, up to date poetry, showing forth the message of our Redeemer and the hope his children have of righteousness, justification, and forgiven sins. It’s easy to talk to adults, and oh so difficult to communicate the same things to children, but Bond and Shaffer have done just that.

4/5 stars. I recommend it to you and yours. I discourage, the Kindle (.mobi) version, however because of the division of artwork.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This review is crosslisted on Goodreads, NetGalley, and Amazon.