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What's in the Bible Volume 5: Israel Gets a King Review by Jennifer Harrison

Phil Vischer
5141 Virginia Way
Ste. 320
Brentwood TN 37064

If you have already had the pleasure of watching a What's in the Bible video, then you can understand how much my family has enjoyed the 5th volume in the series: Israel Gets a King. If these movies are new to you, then a little background is in order.

Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, is also the creator of What's in the Bible. This series begins with Genesis and works its way through the Bible, teaching children deep truths about God's Word in engaging ways. The Bible is presented as one big story of redemption, called "God's rescue plan" in the DVDs. Each episode is packed with a mix of puppets, animation, and even some live characters. The episodes include ongoing conversations with Phil Vischer, clips of children discussing the stories, and song performances by The Bentley Brothers (whom parents might recognize as the internet comedians Rhett & Link).

While often silly and hilarious, each show is highly educational. I'm constantly amazed at the themes Phil Vischer is able to convey to young children. The truths are not watered down, but they are explained effectively in a way little kids can grasp firmly. After watching the first volume, my 4-year-old was able to sit down on Daddy's lap and tell him all about the Septuagint and the Vulgate.

In this particular volume, there are two parts. Part 1 is called "The People Want a King!" and it shares the book of 1st Samuel, introducing Saul and how he became Israel's first king. Part 2 is called "Kings Make Mistakes Too!" and it shares the book of 2nd Samuel and the first chapter of 1st Kings, introducing David and then Solomon.

The DVDs also include a Tricky Bits segment, and in Volume 5, this segment explains the Trinity after mentioning that the Spirit of the Lord fell on David. I love that it doesn't shy away from the hard stuff. Children are so eager to learn. Phil Vischer seems to respect that, and he works hard to help them learn.

While there is plenty of learning, there is also plenty of silliness. In sharing a flannel graph of the story of Saul sinning, Saul is shown going "to the Dark Side" and is even given a Darth Vader mask. It was well explained that this part was not real, but it certainly was a great (and funny) visual that my kids will never forget.

In the story of David, I appreciated that the DVD didn't shy away from the topic of consequences for sin. Even though he was forgiven, David still had consequences for his sins that he didn't escape.

If you're not sure if these DVDs will be a good fit for your family, the website has many samples you can view online. There are five volumes released so far, and DVD #6 will release on October 18, 2011.

Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2011