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Cecil & Friends Book Set (The Good Samaritan, Jed & Roy McCoy, Cecil the Lost Sheep, Zac the Tax Man, Jonah's Story) Review by Karen Yuen

By Andrew McDonough
5300 Patterson Avenue SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

The stories in this series are all very comical twists on Bible stories most children are becoming familiar with. The books also include some humor for adults. For instance, the copyright page of The Good Samaritan, which is about a lawyer who tries to trick Jesus with difficult questions, includes a notation at the very bottom: "No lawyers were harmed in the making of this book." The copyright page of Jed & Roy McCoy, which is about two shepherds who've been fighting over their sheep on the first Christmas day, states, "In accordance with any relevant industrial award, all characters in this story were paid double time for working on Christmas day." 

As you can imagine, these are not your typical children's Bible storybooks. The illustrations are more like cartoons, with lots of funny expressions on the characters' faces. This series includes a sheep named Cecil. At the end of each book Cecil provides information to families about things to notice in the stories. For example, in the Christmas story, there are several crosses and shadows of crosses included in the illustrations to provide parents with opportunities to teach kids that the Easter story began at Christmas. Parents are also directed to where the story is located in the Bible. In addition, the Biblical text is printed on the last page of the book so that parents can jump right into reading God's Word to their little ones.

I would recommend these books for early elementary students who are becoming familiar with Bible stories and who are old enough to appreciate humor. But even if your kids are too young to pick up on the humor, don't worry. You'll enjoy a good laugh yourself!

Product review by Karen Yuen, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2010