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Candle Bible for Toddlers: Carry Along Bible

Candle Bible for Toddlers: Carry Along Bible Fun. RRP: $16.95
Candle Bible for Toddlers: The Very First Christmas (Sticker Activity Book) RRP: approximately $8.00
Candle Bible for Toddlers: Memory Game RRP: $12.95
Christmas Giant Floor Puzzle RRP: approximately $11.00

A bright and colourful resource for the young believer is the Candle Bible for Toddlers range and related materials. Looking for some presents in that age range, I was attracted to the colourful and simply drawn characters and bright presentation of these materials.

To obtain a critical opinion of their usefulness and appeal, I went to an expert – my 2½ year old niece (and her parents!).

My niece’s mum encouraged me to wait until this Christmas to give her the Christmas sticker book.

This activity book uses a Rebus format – the use of pictures to identify particular words eg. in this case “donkey” is represented by the word and a picture (which is a sticker).

There are over 130 stickers with lots of repetition, good for little people. The centre double page is black and white for colouring in (actually the same scene as the jigsaw puzzle).

The story is split into a number of sections with the words being well spaced, clear and large. The problem my niece’s mum could see is that this somewhat independent two year old would want to put the stickers where she chose, not what the book and story ‘dictated’ – leading to an interesting alternative version of the Christmas story! (Also “Noah and his ark”.)

The giant Christmas floor puzzle was well-received.

The pieces vary in size but all are large and solid (good for little people’s hands). Some pieces are ‘character shaped’ and add some extra challenge. We had fun doing the puzzle together (she did need some direction).

He dad joined us after we had finished and played a “where is the …” game with her. With a greater familiarity with the puzzle, I think she would be doing it herself (there is an A4 picture of the puzzle in the box as well).

All the Christmas figures are in the one picture (plus some extras –eg mice and rabbits!) but it would provide a great jumping off place for story-telling.

The Memory Game contains 48 cards (2 sets of 24) which are a bit smaller that A5 size and solid (again easy for little people’s hands).

Despite an over-enthusiastic aunty who tipped out the entire box, she managed to match up all the cards quite easily (with a little help from aunty and dad).

She seemed to like the bright figures and could easily tell when cards were the same or not.

My disappointment with them was the lack of gender balance – out of 24 cards there were only 5 women represented.

The pack comes with instructions for snap and a memory game and briefly tells all 24 stories matching the cards.

“Wow!”, said my niece when we opened the Carry Along Bible Fun pack. She really loved this one which contains 4 felt pens, the all important stickers, 2 A3 colouring in pages, 2 A3 maps showing Israel, 2 A3 coloured pictures (Noah’s ark and the Christmas stable), 4 story books and comes in a resealable cardboard box with carry-handle.

We set to work on the stickers straight away and used the pens to start colouring in.

I too thought this pack was generally great – one concern though – the stories while using relatively simple language really used too many words for this age group. The words are also in a small font.

I can see the publishers were perhaps trying to tell as much of the stories as they could in such a format but others I think have better accomplished connection with this age group in story form.

Overall, I think these resources are worth a look. I know that my niece and I will be playing with them again.

Bring on more play-based theological learning!

Reviewed by Mel Perkins, a Uniting Church Minister intern.