The authors of The bottomless dinner basket seek to teach sound doctrine to children aged eight and above using Erroll Hulse’s Catechism for boys and girls. There are three units that are each split into subsections.
At the beginning of each section, the authors quote the questions and answers from the catechism (omitting the questions on baptism). What follows is a story corresponding with the questions and answers. Some of these stories are short biographies; some are Bible stories that Helms and Kahler have rewritten to make them easier for children to understand. At the end of each story can be found relevant Bible verses and questions to answer.
The aim is excellent. Learning the catechism is a wonderful way to teach the truths of Scripture. I have been looking for devotionals to read with our children (aged 9, 11 and 13) and we read some of this book together. As someone who loves history, I enjoyed the historical, short biographies included in this book. Helms and Kahler are good story tellers.
However, I really disliked the embellishment of Bible passages. The authors remark that they have done this to make the stories more understandable for children. However, they have added to the stories and presumed meanings in the passages, which I do not agree are evident.
The Bible is clear that we are not to add or take away from Scripture (Revelation 22:19). I understand that there is a place to summarise passages or simplify them for children, but adding additional meaning or details is another matter.
An additional caveat is that, although the stories are based on the catechism, I kept losing sight of which of the questions the stories were based upon and had to look back to check. This is a book I wanted to enjoy but I cannot recommend it in light of the reasons given above.
Grand Rapids, Michigan