Christmas Book Review Series 2018: Amazing Scriptures
Welcome to the Exponent Book Review Series and Cyber Monday Giveaway!
Over this week and ending on Cyber Monday, we will share our thoughts on books that we think you should consider as possible Christmas gifts for yourself and others! As in the past, everyone who comments on a post will be entered into the draw to win a copy of one of the books that we have reviewed! (Choice of electronic or hard copies in the domestic US, digital copies outside of this area). Your comment on each post gives you one entry (multiple comments on the same post will not give you additional entries.) This year, we are adding comments on the Book Review posts shared on the Exponent Facebook page in addition to comments on the blog.
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Review of Amazing Scriptures by Norman Shurtliff.
In all honesty, the book arrived at out house and promptly went missing. As a busy parent, I chose to not worry too much… but after a few days, I finally asked. My daughter had absconded with it to her room: it was her new favourite thing and she wasn’t too into letting me “borrow” it. I did convince her that we could read it together, and much to both of our delight, we did.
It seems a bit odd to call this a book: it is a comic book, board game, a maze and a choose-your-own adventure style activity. It is focused on Nephi, Sam, Laman and Lemuel, and as a reader, you follow the comic in a choose-your-own-adventure style (though you also need to toss a die in parts) and follow Laman as he tries to obtain the plates from Laban. The names of the characters are the only parts that reflect scripture, but because my daughter was familiar with the names and the story, the game jumped off of the page for her!
Shurtliff has a corresponding website with printables and others tools to continue and add upon the adventure, and which is handy to add more players to the game.
There isn’t much literary depth to the comic, nor is spiritual enlightenment on the table, but the book is fun—just plain fun. It took me a little bit to get my head around the character names as I had a fairly narrow perspective on individuals with those names based on the Book of Mormon story found in 1st Nephi. Once I dropped the idea that this was supposed to teach religiosity, the thing flowed perfectly. This does not appeal as much to my younger daughter who likes to work more strategy-based games, and who volunteers herself as a “tester” any time a wizard offers her “sneaking potion” to help her be more stealth. But my comic-book reading, star wars-loving daughter was sold on this instantly. I personally appreciated the creativity and originality in which the characters came to life for Shurtliff, and the way in which he makes this story into a fantastical adventure for others to share. I also found this to be a super fun road-trip game that took up very little space, and which we could play together as a family for a great night in.
I recommend this for tweens who like sci-fi and fantasy, and for $14.99, this is a very affordable investment in a non-digital, interactive game that inspires a sense of adventure, creativity and imagination (and a few laughs as well).