Well, it was only a matter of time, I guess. And it has arrived:
(See the sneak-peek trailer below…you can ignore the overly dramatic voice and get a look at the content)
In full disclosure, I should state that I haven’t read this book, or even looked through it, for that matter. And I don’t think I need to in order to lay claim to the following thoughts.
If you grew up as I did, in a Lutheran home, or attended a Lutheran school as I did, you would most likely have run across these books. The Arch Books were a part of my bedtime stories, required reading during book time in school, and something that introduced me to many of the Bible stories available to children for their learning and understanding. “God, I’ve gotta talk to you!”, “Jonah and the Very BIG Fish”, and “SAMSON” were just some of the stories I remember hearing. I’ve been lucky enough to read them to my son, who listens intently and makes me wait to turn the page until he’s gotten to inspect every single minutiae of every picture. It was just one more way for us as a family to share the message of the Bible, the story of Christ, and the Works of the Lord throughout history and our lives. I’ve been so happy to have those books in my life, and I would encourage anyone to pass them on to the children in their lives, whether it be sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, or the neighbor’s children from next door. And what better way to spread the message of Christ than to do so through the Bible stories which can build and strengthen faith.
But there are two things which the Arch Books did not do that disappoint me. First, they never moved beyond the realm of Bible stories into the history and material of the church. Now, we can say that Arch Books are not intended for that purpose, and I would certainly agree. The vehicle of the Arch Books is a proven one, and it was not applied to the next stories to come about after the Bible. Where are the stories of Luther, or of the church’s struggles and hope throughout history? Don’t we want to make that available as well? What about the meaning of the cross, or the pictures of the lamb in stained windows, or the changing colors in the church throughout the year? Those things are made available to adults, but in a format not quite as readable as Arch Books.
And the second thing which the Arch Book didn’t (and couldn’t) do was be accessible to the next level of children. My son is aging quickly, and he’s moving beyond Arch Books. A story, with the poetic writing and the cartoonish drawings of the Arch Book series are excellent for young children, but get left behind rather quickly as time marches on.
Enter the graphic novel! This is an excellent idea. The format is accessible to the youth/teenager, the cost is available to parents, and the story of Luther is a compelling one. Bravo, CPH! Now, can we take the Arch Books and move those stories to the graphic novel format? The bubbly cartoons of Arch Books are just child-like enough to put off a growing child who is starting to see the world for what it is. Let’s give them the Bible in a way that helps them understand the truth of it.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=s5OtMaoHk-Q]