Anyone who is a fan of the oldies-but-goodies radio programs will be familiar with a song from 1965 called, The Name Game, as in "Lincoln, Lincoln, bo-bincoln, banana-rama, po-pincoln,” etc. Well, that can be a bit of fun when you are singing along with names such as Tommy, Nathan, Janet, or Beth. However, when you try something similar using names the likes of Amminadaz, Nahshon, Rehoboam, and Hezekiah, it goes from funny to ridiculous. And I'm afraid that is just the situation in the children's picture book, The Ballad of Matthew's Begats by Andrew Peterson with color illustrations by Cory Godbey. Knowing that it will be virtually impossible for young readers to recognize, much less pronounce, half the words in this book, the author has included a CD of himself singing the story, but that does not make it any easier.
It's the artwork that steals the show. In a two-page spread with only three words on it ("Abraham had Isaac"), we are shown an exhausted hundred-year-old man playing horsey ride with an energetic toddler. In another two-page spread containing the words, "Jesse, he had David," we see a slide show of a little shepherd with his dad, then a picture of him practicing with his sling, and then a four-part picture grouping of Goliath being beaned by a rock and going into a fall.
The book is a transcription of the song and, as such, when read as a book it is stilted, awkward, and laced with poor syntax, as in "Followed by Abijah, who had Asa. Asa had Jehoshaphat, had Joram." Heh? The bottom line is, if given to a child just to flip through and look at the funny pictures, it is an amusing 26-page book for a non-reader. But as a text for young readers, it is too difficult, not interesting enough, and rather confusing. – Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Christian Book Previews.com
Who says all those "begats" in the first chapter of Matthew aren't fun to read? Kids and parents will have fun reading and singing along with this joyful Andrew Peterson song. The lyrics tell not only of the Biblical list of relatives, but for the first time, kids will learn why the "begats" are extremely important. This story and song demonstrate that Abraham's long lineage lead directly to the most important Bible character ever . . . Jesus Christ.
This special book bridges the Old Testament and New Testament, showing Jesus' birth as part of God's plan from the very beginning. Interesting "Did You Know?" elements featured throughout the book to give kids fun facts about this Unlikely Royal Family Tree.