All is Bright // Ben-Hur [Review]

All is Bright by Nancy Gunthrie

Due to a mix up with shipping, I didn’t receive this in time to use for Advent last year, so I’m saving it back to use this year. This devotional coloring book includes a family devotion and coloring page for every day of December, as well as additional activities and talking points in the back. The devotions are written by Nancy Gunthrie to provide the spiritual journey through the advent season and set the stage for each illustration. 

The illustrations are detailed and thoughtful, ranging from abstract lines and swirls to hand lettered messages to pictures depicting the nativity. The pages are a nice quality great for coloring with pencils and markers. The size is big enough that several people could gather around the book to color together while still being small enough to be portable. 
I can’t wait to go through this book in December, and I would recommend it to any family looking for a fun but meaningful coloring activity. 

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Carol Wallace

As an English major in college, I loved grabbing a thick classic and sitting for hours reading. Now as a busy mom of two, it’s hard to find time to read big books like I used to. That’s why I was excited to receive a copy of this adapted version of the classic Ben-Hur story to read. I haven’t ever read the original or seen any film adaptation, so this was my first introduction to the story. 

I was confused by the subtitle “A Tale of the Christ” since the story itself centers around a young Jewish man named Judah Ben-Hur. The text follows him through his journey of betrayal by his close friend Messala, exile and revenge, and eventually an encounter with Jesus that leaves him seeking a path of forgiveness instead. Although he does interact with Jesus, I didn’t feel like this was the main focus of the story, at least in this version. 

The writing itself felt accessible to a wide range of modern audiences while still keeping some of what I assume to be the original language. While reading it, I definitely wanted to go back and read the original version to see what Lew Wallace actually wrote and if the more antiquated language would add to the richness of the plot. At times the story felt a bit flat, which is a downside of reading a condensed version of the original story. 

All in all I found this to be an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a more modern introduction to the story. 

Please note that all pictures and opinions contained in this review are my own. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale publishers through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”