Our family has incorporated the print version of The Beginner’s Bible into our homeschooling activities since my oldest was in Kindergarten. This modern classic of easy-to-read, chronologically arranged Bible stories spans from Creation to Revelation in 90 different Bible stories with bright, cartoon-style drawings. We have in fact, worn out a couple of copies by reading through them out loud for a first level of Bible familiarity with our preschoolers and also as a reader for my oldest when she was starting to read independently.
Now this much-loved resource is available as an interactive iPad app complete with read-along narration, coloring pages, puzzles and games. The free lite download comes with the first six stories for free: The Beginning, Adam and Eve, The Sneaky Snake, Noah’s Ark, The Tall Tower, and a New Home. Additional story packs (six stories each) are available as in-app purchases of $1.99/pack.
Each story is between approximately 8-10 pages in length with the text on the left side and the illustration on the right side. The “Read” portion of the app is arranged like a traditional book that turns with arrow-based navigation. The table of contents can be reached from any page, pages can be bookmarked, and narration can be turned on and off. When narration is turned on, each word highlights as it is read. Background music, dramatic readings, and sound effects often accompany the narration as well.
Each illustrated page also includes some interactivity and movement. This is often fairly simple (tapping water to see it splash, tapping grass to add flowers, tapping characters to see them ‘bounce’ with a sound effect etc.) though some are more impressive (painting with light, changing from day to night etc.)
Each story also includes another activity – these can be viewed separately in the “Play” section table of contents or can be accessed from within the story reading itself. In the first story pack two coloring pages are included, two simple jigsaw puzzles, and one animated game.
The coloring pages allow for simple free-form coloring with a seven-color palette and one stroke width and a magic palette that automatically fills in the colors from the storybook illustration when it is colored with in the same standard stroke width. Completed coloring pages can be emailed to friends and family members or saved to the camera roll.
The jigsaw puzzles are taken from the illustrations of the stories and are nine-pieces each. The grayed out image is provided and young children simply tap and drag the puzzle pieces to match the puzzle image provided.
The action-game in the first story pack is a slicing and dicing of the forbidden fruit. Swiping through the airborne fruits before they touch the ground provides game progression (more and more fruits are in the air in each round). When three touch the ground the game is over.
There is background music throughout in the extra activities.
What We Liked:
Well, you still really can’t go wrong with The Beginner’s Bible! It’s an all-around solid introduction to the major events of the Bible presented in chronological order in a simple, child-friendly way.
The app version of this title is just as big a hit with my little ones as the print version is. My girls really like all of the additional interactive activities the story packs include, like puzzles, coloring pages, and games – these help to reinforce the story the children have just had read to them without needing to pull together outside supplementary resources.
Positively welcomed with 5-star reviews from my four-year-old all the way to my nine-year-old, just opening the app brings my little ones to my knee to hear familiar stories read to them. If you mute your iPad you could even use this as a quiet book for children in church – let them interact with the images and color pictures while listening to a message.
What We Didn’t Like:
Like the original, I’m still not fond of the depictions of characters as mainly Caucasian, men without beards etc. (a common Bible storybook failing).
I would LOVE to see touching individual words to hear them read added to this app. When our emerging readers first tackle this book there are a few ‘big’ words they need help with. The ability to have single words read with the narration turned off would be wonderful.
I’m also wondering about the overall pricing scheme in the long run. At $1.99 for six stories, the total cost of the app would be almost $28.00 once it is completely developed. I hope the publishers make a ‘full version’ available at a reduced cost.
With The Beginner’s Bible now available as an iPad app, I’ll finally be able to stop buying replacement copies of our well-worn print version of this book. Whether used as a Bible story primer for preschoolers or as a reader for emerging readers just stepping into their own Bible reading times, this book-turned app is a fine choice. The inclusion of additional coloring pages, puzzles, and activities is an added bonus!
Other Notes: This app doesn’t include any advertising, social media integration, or external links. It does include in-app purchases and links to email.
Overall Rating: 5/5
Mom’s Rating: 5/5
Kids’ Rating: 5/5
Recommended Grades/Ages: Preschool, Kindergarten, Grades 1-2
Skills Developed: Bible Stories, Reader, Storybook, Family Devotions
This review was originally published by AppsforHomeschooling.com on October 20, 2012.
For homeschoolers, by a homeschooler. Jennifer Bogart, founded AppsforHomeschooling.com. She has five children, ages 0 (infant) to 10 (tween). She's an "app-loving, aspiring geek dedicated to helping you hunt down the best homeschooling apps" and you can find more reviews on her site for everything from Toddlers to Tweens.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Kelly Pulley (Illustrator)
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8 +
The bestselling Bible storybook of all time with over 6 million copies sold is now available in an iPad app that includes enhanced audio with compelling narration, music, and sound effects that help bring 94 Bible stories to life like never before.
With Bible characters you can touch, coloring pages, puzzles, and games, this special iPad edition of The Beginner’s Bible brings God’s Word to children ages 2-6 in an engaging and interactive way. The first “Story Pack”, which includes 6 stories, coloring pages, puzzles, and game, is included in your app download, completely FREE!
Unlock all story packs of 6 Bible stories each with coloring pages, puzzles, and games with in-app purchases.