Monday, February 25, 2013

Video Review: What's in the Bible? Vol. 8 - Words to Make Us Wise


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Entertaining look at books hard to teach to kids
Cons: Parts on Job could be stronger
The Bottom Line:
Some words of wisdom
Taught so kids will understand
Learn and still enjoy




Wisdom, Songs, and ... Mushy Stuff?

What's in the Bible? is a series designed to teach the Bible to kids via 13 one hour lessons and puppets.  Obviously this isn't a comprehensive view of the Bible, but an introduction that teaches the important themes of each book and what that teaches us about God.  The 8th volume just came out.  Entitled Words to Make Us Wise, it focuses on the poetry books of the Old Testament.

Now I've got to admit I wondered how these would be covered.  These books would be hard to teach kids because there isn't much in the way of stories.  But creator Phil Vischer (the man behind the original VeggieTales) proves that he can get the job done with another entertaining video.

As always, there are two half hour lessons on this DVD, and between the two of them, we cover 5 books of the Bible.  First up, we learn about these poetry books and why it is important to know the difference between history and poetry.  (After all, one of the books here compares God to a bird.)

Job is obviously the easiest book to cover since there is a story to it.  I was a little unhappy with the discussion of parts of it (seems to not want to take the pose parts as metaphorical as well as the poetry parts), but the conclusion was certainly right on.  Then we head to Psalms and learn about the praise God of Israel and how some of those Psalms are the basis of the hymns we use today.

The second episode takes us through the wisdom of Proverbs (and how that is different from smarts), Ecclesiastes and the meaning of life, and finally the love poem that is Song of Solomon.

I was most interested in how they would cover that last book.  After all, it is a love poem and these videos are aimed at kids.  I've got to say, this may have been the funniest thing they've done for any of the videos ever.  Between the talk about the comparisons in the book (your hair is like a flock of goats) and the characters' reactions to the "mushy stuff," it was a riot.

Of course, the entire video is filled with some jokes along with the information.  I found it entertaining, and I'm well beyond the early elementary target age.  They do keep the songs to a minimum, which helps.  Those are always the weakest part of the episodes.

What always amazes me is that Phil Vischer performs all the puppets himself.  How does he make all those voices without losing his?  It's amazing, but I never find any weaknesses there.

So we've got an entertaining hour on five books that kids probably won't be that familiar with at all and context to help them understand what they will find there.  This is the exactly what the series tries to do, and it succeeds perfectly.  What's in the Bible? Volume 8: Words to Make Us Wise is a great addition to the series.

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