If you work with under-5s, you probably know Lois Rock. If you don’t, you have a treat in store.
Probably best known for her toddler-friendly “My Very First Bible,” Rock has also edited and written books of prayers, and authored “My Very First Christmas,” which includes Christmas folklore and legends as well as the Christmas story. She has also written Christening gift books and some secular non-fiction that can be used for pastoral care of families, like helping children adjust to a new baby in the house.
Many of the stories from “My Very First Bible” are also available as individual books – some in big-book format, which is great for large groups.
Her writing is clear and simple without being simplistic. She doesn’t talk down to children. She includes some of the non-story parts of the Bible, such as the Lord’s Prayer, by showing how they came to be told. And, in many cases, she adds vital details that are often left out of retellings for very young children – for example, it’s made clear, in her retelling of the Good Samaritan, that Jesus’s listeners wouldn’t have liked the Samaritans. So the crucial element – that the parable isn’t just about “being nice” but about rethinking who your enemies are – is maintained.
An extra note of praise must be given to the illustrator of many of her books, Alex Ayliffe. The illustrations, like the text, are simple without being simplistic, and contain lots of little details that children will notice. The colours are bright, and the shapes attractive even to babies. Sophie Allsopp illustrates some of her others, with wonder and charm.