The Adventures of Matthew and Andy: Genesis



Book: The Adventures of Matthew and Andy: Genesis

Author and Illustrator: Steve E. Upchurch

Publisher: Westbow Press, 2015

ISBN-13: 978-1512709445 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1512709441 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1512709438 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1512709433 Paperback

Related website: (publisher)

Language level: 2

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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Upchurch, Steve E. The Adventures of Matthew and Andy: Genesis (published in 2015 by Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, 1663 Liberty Dr., Bloomington, IN  47403).  Matthew is a ten year old fifth-grader who lives with his dad, mom, and little sister.  He has started reading his Bible every day but has a hard time understanding some of it.  Shortly afterwards, he begins dreaming of an angel named Andy who is short like him, has bright red curly hair with lots of freckles on his face, is a little bit chubby with skinny legs, and wears a basketball jersey with the number 23 on it.  Eleven short chapters tell how Andy takes Matthew back during his dreams to see the beginning of time, the creation of man, the fall, the days of Seth and Methuseleh, Noah and the flood, Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac, Isaac with Esau and  Jacob, Jacob’s wrestling with God, Joseph’s dreams, Joseph’s imprisonment, and Joseph’s reunion with his brothers.  How will all this affect Matthew and his understanding of the Bible?

I first learned about this book from an article in our local newspaper.  The author, Steven E. Upchurch, is minister with The Rock Church in nearby Centralia, IL.  Writing from Matthew’s point of view, Upchurch says that the goal of publishing the book is to open the Bible to younger people, “that they understand that it truly is an exciting book.  There’s a reason it’s the number one best seller in the history” (referring to the Bible).  The article noted that “Besides the writing, Upchurch also did the illustrations for the book.”  It is somewhat reminiscent of a series of videos called “Superbook” that we had when our boys were little where a robot took a couple of kids back in time to witness various Bible events.  A couple of incidents with childish bodily slang and humor are found, probably to make it appealing to the intended age group.  It could have used a bit more editing, as in “this one will be different than all of the other creatures” (different from) and “But laying there in my bed” (lying).

Also, Andy does seem to have a little trouble with some factual information.  “We are going to see some of the ancestors of Adam and Eve today.”  Aren’t they descendants?  “That is Adam and Eve’s first son.  His name is Seth.”  What happened to Cain and Abel?  And in answer to a question about who will feed the animals on the ark, “My guess us Adam is going to give that job to his sons.”  There are a few common denominational concepts and terms, such as calling the preacher “Pastor Mark,” and not everyone will agree with the idea of a guardian angel for each person, but putting all these minor issues aside, it really is a neat way to get kids interested in the Bible.  From a positive standpoint, the first three chapters contain some good arguments for creation and against evolution that are fairly easy for children to grasp.  And Matthew learns some other very important lessons along the way.  At the end of each chapter, there are discussion questions to go over with a parent or friend.  Upchurch is working on a sequel about the Israelites’ exodus from Egyptian slavery.

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