Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Messiah: Origin by Matt Dorff, Mark Arey, Kai Carpenter

book cover
Messiah: Origin
by Matt Dorff (Adapter),
Kai Carpenter (Illustrator),
Mark Arey (Translator)

ISBN-13: 978-0310431619
Paperback: 174 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: October 9, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher provided through Booksneeze.com.

Book Description from Booksneeze:
Origin, the first adventure in the Messiah graphic novel series, was translated by Father Mark Arey exclusively from ancient Gospel manuscripts. His work has produced a narrative harmony that weaves the four Gospels into a single continuous story, of which Origin is the opening chapter.

The magnificence of this foundational literature is realized through the exquisite and enchanting illustrations of artist Kai Carpenter. Adapted and edited into graphic novel form by Matt Dorff, with letters and title designs by Carlton Riffel, Origin illuminates the story of Jesus' birth and early life through gloriously detailed and inspiring imagery.

My Review:
Messiah: Origin is a graphic novel version of the Bible that covered Jesus' birth to right before Jesus is baptized by John. It's more like a series of paintings rather than a comic book, and the paintings are very expressive. Some illustrations are of Old Testament events that are being referred to or are related to the main gospel text, but most are of the events occurring in the gospel narrative.

Some details in a few of those illustrations are not historically accurate, but I suspect most people won't notice or care. It's certainly more accurate than most children's illustrated Bibles. I was also uncertain about what theology was intended by some of the pictures, especially the use of stars and comets in pictures referring to God.

The text was translated directly from the ancient manuscripts, and the text was directly from the Bible, which is not true for most graphic novels. The authors combined the accounts from the four gospels to make one chronological account.

Since the author used words like "epiphany," "queried," and "blazoned," I suspect the target audience is adults rather than children. The artwork also seems more worshipful and sometimes symbolic rather than intended to engage children.

My only real negative comment about this book is the cost. When you can buy the awesome The Action Bible by Sergio Cariello--a hardback graphic book covering the entire Bible and suitable for both kids and adults--for about $18, why would someone spend the suggest price of $20 on a slim paperback volume covering only a few chapters of the Bible? Luckily for Zondervan, most bookstores are selling Origin for about $13, which is more reasonable.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt provided by Christianbook.com.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome by Dr. J.C. Sanford

book cover
Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome
by Dr. J.C. Sanford

ISBN: 9780981631608
Trade Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Feed My Sheep Foundation, Inc.
Released: March 1, 2008

Source: Bought through the Answers in Genesis bookstore.

Book Description, Modified from Amazon:
Dr. John Sanford, a retired Cornell Professor, examines the "Primary Axiom." The Primary Axiom is the foundational evolutionary premise -- that life is merely the result of mutations and natural selection. In addition to showing compelling theoretical evidence that whole genomes must in fact degenerate over time, this book strongly refutes the Darwinian concept that man is just the result of a random and pointless natural process. This is an updated version of the October 2005 edition and includes both a new appendix and glossary.

My Review:
Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome is essentially a science book looking at how genomes degenerate over time and how this is a problem for macro-evolution theory. He started off with a fairly basic explanation of how mutations and natural selection are supposed to create new, beneficial information. I think anyone could follow this. He then delved into the reality of genetic mutations and how even a beneficial mutation wouldn't survive the overall degeneration of the genome to do any good.

Even as someone who took some college level biology and genetics classes, I had to concentrate hard to follow all of what he was saying. It helped that he'd use common-place analogies to explain his point for a lay person, but I think you have to be very interested in the topic to read it completely through. It'll probably most appeal to those who work with genetics or in biology.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Adventure Bible Handbook by Robin Schmitt & David Frees

book cover
Adventure Bible Handbook
Robin Schmitt
& David Frees

Illustrated by
Craig Philips

ISBN: 9780310725756
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: ZonderKids
Released: October 8, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher provided through BookSneeze.com.

Book Description, Modified from Booksneeze:
A fun and exciting journey through the Bible told in comic book style for kids ages 9-12. Companion to the bestselling Adventure Bible.

The Adventure Bible Handbook leads tween boys and girls across the Holy Land and back in time. Four siblings travel with their archaeologist father to the Holy Land. When he disappears, the children try to find him by joining an offbeat tour group. The group visits ancient cities, important geographical sites, and experiences biblical times firsthand—traveling back in time with the help of some RSPs (Really Smart Phones) and all sorts of wacky modes of transportation.

It’s a fast, fun adventure through some of the greatest Bible stories to learn what life is really all about.

My Review:
Adventure Bible Handbook is a Bible overview combined with some comic book, time-travel action. It's a companion to the Adventure Bible by Zondervan, which I think is a real Bible with kid-friendly study inserts. Since this book is mostly a summary of the Bible, I'm not certain why it's needed if the child has a kid's study Bible as well. It seemed more like a book to use to get a child who doesn't know the Bible interested in reading the full stories in the Bible.

The comic book part is a story about some kids trying to find their father by, of all things, taking a time-traveling tour of the Holy Land. Lucky for them, he's time-traveling, too. The main focus, though, seems to be their seeing events from the Bible so they will decide to follow Christ at the end.

As they travel through events taken from each book of the Bible, the reader is given a summary of that event or book in text above the comic section. Some events are illustrated using comic-book style and others by using pictures of modern-day remains or of paintings previously done of the event. There are some maps, Bible facts, and cultural background information, but mainly it's a summary of the main events of the Bible.

Despite the theme of traveling through time, they generally didn't mention dates. I think this was smart idea because a lot of dates are under dispute. They treated Genesis as real history, and this is one area where they didn't mention dates.

I did notice some minor errors, like page 26, "In Old Testament Times, the oldest son inherited everything." (The firstborn sons inherited a double portion, but not everything.) The information also seemed a bit simplistic. I'd think that church kids in their tweens would already understand what sin is or could tackle what the Ten Commandments really are instead of a modified, modernized version for young kids. But if you're looking for a fast summary of the Bible "spiced up" with the addition of a comic book adventure, then this does the job well enough.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.