Logos 4 Review: The Septuagint

I enjoy reading the Septuagint in Greek (as best I can), and I enjoy using Bible software programs to do it. In this post I offer part 2 of my Logos 4 review (part 1 is here), focusing on the Septuagint in Logos.

Here is what the Original Languages Library has by way of Septuagint resources:

  • Septuagint with Logos Morphology (Rahlfs-Hanhart)
  • A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Lust/Eynikel/Hauspie)
  • An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (Liddell/Scott)
  • The Parallel Aligned Hebrew–Aramaic and Greek Texts of Jewish Scripture (Logos product page here)
  • The BHS Hebrew Bible with WIVU morphological analysis (as well as other Hebrew-related resources)

As far as texts go, the standard base is there (Rahlfs). And there’s instant morphological analysis so you can hover over a word to see its parsing right away. The LEX Septuagint lexicon is my personal go-to, and adding the Liddell-Scott abridgement is an especially nice touch. Students can do decent lexical analysis of words in their Septuagint-specific context.

The best part is the inclusion of the Parallel Aligned Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Texts of Jewish Scripture. Here’s what Logos says:

Prof. Tov’s Parallel shows how the Hebrew and Aramaic line up against the Greek text on a word-by-word basis, but it does far more. In places where the Greek text doesn’t follow the Masoretic reading, Dr. Tov has provided a reconstruction of what the Hebrew or Aramaic text that the Greek translators were looking at might have been. In addition to these theoretical reconstructions, this database includes copious notes on the translation techniques used by the Septuagint translators, making this work a rather specialized commentary on the text. Did the Greek translators change the word order for grammatical or stylistic reasons? Did they change the voice of a verb from passive to active? Did they use a genitive absolute to translate an infinitive absolute? These types of observations are exhaustively noted in the alignment.

Dig this:

It’s a really nice feature, and presented especially well in Logos.

With all of the above in use, here’s what my Septuagint layout looks like in Logos 4 (click to enlarge):

That’s six resources open at once, each of which is plenty visible! And moving around which tabs go where, re-sizing, opening “in a floating window,” and saving the layout is easy.

The little orange A next to each resource icon/image is a “Link Set.” By clicking on the icon/image of the resource, I can assign it a letter in a Link Set, which then means each of the tabs and resources updates as any one of them moves ahead. So if I move ahead through the Greek LXX, the Hebrew MT follows, as does the NET Bible, as does the MT/LXX Parallel. Nice.

It was easy enough to figure out how to make LEH my default lexicon (“prioritize” it, in Logos parlance). Now double clicking on any Greek word opens up the corresponding entry in that lexicon.

The Information tab at the right in the screen shot above gives lexical and morphological analysis of any word. And something that’s not present in the image above: the bottom gray portion of Logos (just under the bottom left tab) also updates with morphological analysis as you move over a word. That part of the screen updates faster than the Information tab, which has just a slight delay in displaying new information.

One thing that stands out as a possible oversight is that there is no English translation of the Septuagint bundled with the Original Languages Library. In other major Bible software programs for a comparable price and package level, there is at least one English translation of the Septuagint, so Logos is unique here. (Logos does have Brenton’s English translation available, though you have to purchase it in addition to this package to use it.)

The MT-LXX Parallel, the two solid LXX-related lexica, and the customizability of the layout are standouts when it comes to using the Septuagint in Logos 4. One other thing worth mentioning is the availability of the Göttingen Septuagint and apparatus in Logos. It’s an add-on module that’s not cheap, but its price for how much it offers is hard to beat anywhere, digitally or in print. There are other Septuagint resources that Logos has digitized, too, that would be good additions to a digital library.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I will be giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review. The couple Amazon links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links.

My Accordance 10 review: all six parts (plus Beale/Carson module review)

Here, collected in one place, are all six parts of my review of the Bible software program Accordance 10, as well as my two-part review of the Accordance module for Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson.

Part 1In which I finally try out Accordance Bible Software for Mac (new version 10!)

Part 24 Cool Features in Accordance 10

Part 33 Powerful Ways to Search in Accordance 10

Part 4The Original Languages Collection in Accordance 10 meets Septuagint Sunday

Part 5Accordance 10: Bells and Whistles

Part 6: More Bells and Whistles in Accordance 10

Review of Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson:
part 1 / part 2.

UPDATE: Go here to see my comparative review of BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos.

UPDATE 12/29/12: Here I review the User Notes feature.

Thanks again to Accordance for the review copies of the Original Languages Collection and the Beale/Carson module. Five stars for all of the above.

Review: Accordance 10’s Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, by Beale and Carson (part 2 of 2: the content)

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, edited by G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, is available as an add-on module in Accordance 10. In the first part of my review of the module, I focused on Accordance’s presentation of the commentary. Here I review the content of the commentary itself, but still with a close eye on how I’ve experienced it in Accordance.

I mentioned in my last post that for reading this commentary straight through (e.g., if I want to spend some time absorbing the introduction to any given book), I can easily detach it from a given workspace where it has shown up as a “Reference Tool.” I also noted that navigating through the various headings and sub-headings of the commentary is very easy, as Accordance lays it out.

To quickly view hyperlinks you can do a “Popover” for Instant Details by holding a click on a hyperlink or by pressing option-click. Or, as I’ve begun doing since my last post, you can just have the Instant Details always open. This way I can quickly read the text of a verse that is merely referenced in the commentary, and not lose my place in the body of the commentary.

Highlighting is also mercifully easy, so that my commentary currently looks like this:

One thing to appreciate about the content of the commentary right off the bat is that it succeeds in its hope that

Readers will be helped to think through how a particular NT book or writer habitually uses the OT; they will be stimulated to see how certain OT passages and themes keep recurring in the various NT corpora.

Take D.A. Carson’s introduction to 1 Peter, for example:

The OT is cited or alluded to in 1 Peter in rich profusion. In a handful of instances quotations are introduced by formulae: dioti gegraptai, “wherefore it is written” (1:16, citing Lev. 19:2), dioti periechei en graphē, “wherefore it stands in Scripture” (2:6–8, citing Isa. 28:16; Ps. 118:22; Isa. 8:14), or, more simply, by dioti, “wherefore” (1:24–25a, citing Isa. 40:6–8) or by gar, “for” (3:10–12, citing Ps. 34:13–17). About twenty quotations are sufficiently lengthy and specific that there is little doubt regarding their specific OT provenance. For a book of only five short chapters, there is a remarkable record of quotation. Yet the quotations tell only a small part of the story, for 1 Peter is also laced with allusions to the OT.

Andreas J. Köstenberger’s introduction to John is remarkably thorough in this regard, containing (among other things!) a table of introductory formulas John used for OT quotations, a comparison between how John uses a given OT text and how other NT writers use it, how John’s quotations relate to potentially underlying Hebrew and Greek texts, and so on.

As noted above, there are several ways I can easily use Instant Details to look up each of the verses mentioned in the commentary, without losing my place in the main body. Note that the commentary uses transliteration for Greek and Hebrew throughout. For those who are not huge fans of transliteration (myself included), this is offset by the ease with which I can look up any of those verses in Accordance in the original texts, right alongside the commentary.

In the below screen shot I have the GNT-T text at bottom left tied to the Beale-Carson Commentary. This is simple to set up with a right click on the tab, then going to “Tab Ties.” This means that as I advance through 1 Peter, for example, the GNT-T text follows me. In the instance below, I have the parallel NET open, so that a Greek-English diglot follows me through the commentary. In the “Context” zone at the right I have the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Old Greek (LXX) open with my favorite corresponding English translations (NET and NETS) below.

One thing I sort of stumbled on that is really neat. Besides clicking on a hyperlinked verse in the text (to show me that single verse in the Context zone), command-clikcing on a hyperlinked verse gives me all the verses in my commentary’s paragraph that are hyperlinked. Note the “Verse 1 of 12” below, and how Isaiah 8:14 is right below Leviticus 19:2 in my LXX. What a nice feature!

Okay. Back to the content of the commentary itself. The introductions to each NT book, then, do well to orient the reader to trends in how that particular writer interacts with the OT text. The list of contributors is impressive–see it here. The commentary seeks to analyze not only instances where the NT quotes the OT, but also “all probable allusions” as well.

Generally speaking, each citation or allusion in question is organized around these facets:

  • The New Testament context: “the topic of discussion, the flow of thought, and, where relevant, the literary structure, genre, and rhetoric of the passage”
  • The Old Testament context of the source of the quotation or allusion–already things get interesting here, because NT writers do seem to feel free to recontextualize or resituate OT passages…
  • How early Judaism literature understood the given OT text. Even when there is little evidence of citation in early Judaism, there is still explanation. Köstenberger, for example, on John 2:17 briefly discusses the Jewish valuing of zeal, drawing on Phinehas, the Maccabees, and the Qumran community.
  • Textual issues, e.g., changes in verb tense from the LXX to the NT, and explorations of what text (proto-MT, LXX, etc.) or texts might inform the NT author’s quotation, including good discussion of textual variants (in the MT, LXX, and GNT!)
  • “How the NT is using or appealing to the OT,” i.e., are they so steeped in the OT that its language comes out naturally and not as a deliberate quotation? Does the NT writer have fulfilled prophecy in view? Etc.
  • The “theological use” of the OT by the NT writer

This last category ties much of the other content together. For example, on the theological use of Mark 1:2-3, Rick E. Watts says, “As such, eschatologically, in Jesus Isaiah’s long-delayed new-exodus deliverance of Israel has begun in Malachi’s great and terrible day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5).” Watts is dense here, but delightfully so, in my opinion. He develops these themes further–especially that of the new exodus–throughout his analysis on Mark.

I mentioned in my last post that you can search this module in a dozen different ways. The search bar is similar to Google, in that you can search English content by a single word, but also by a phrase in quotation marks, so that that exact phrase comes up in your search. Unfortunately the “Greek Content” and “Hebrew Content” searches (which search using Greek and Hebrew letters) are not available in this module, but that’s no fault of Accordance’s, since the commentary uses transliteration.

Fortunately, “Transliteration” is a search option, so you can easily look up how the commentary treats a given Greek or Hebrew word. Searching hilastērion, I see that all seven of its uses in the commentary are at Romans 3:25.

There were a few times when I wanted to go deeper into a passage than the commentary allowed. For example, Paul’s citation of Malachi in Romans 9:13 has, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” It’s hard to imagine anyone using a commentary who doesn’t want at least a little explanation of “hated” here. The commentary, to be fair, does have, “This choice of Jacob meant the rejection of Esau,” but doesn’t connect this rejection with the verb “hate.”

This just means that Beale and Carson’s commentary won’t be the only place I turn for in-depth study of a passage, but all my seminary professors say don’t use just one commentary anyway! Not a major loss here. The book is already huge (though not on a computer, thankfully), and attempts to be only “reasonably comprehensive” (which it very much is), not exhaustively so.

Besides that, it took me about three seconds to find in Accordance the NET Bible note on Malachi 1:3:

The context indicates this is technical covenant vocabulary in which “love” and “hate” are synonymous with “choose” and “reject” respectively (see Deut 7:8; Jer 31:3; Hos 3:1; 9:15; 11:1).

This commentary is what we book reviewers like to call a monumental achievement. It sits in the carrel of many a student in my seminary’s library. For good reason. And Accordance has done a magnificent job if seamlessly integrating a rich and multi-facted commentary into its software. This is a five star commentary with five star integration into Accordance 10.

Beale and Carson say in their introduction:

If this volume helps some scholars and preachers to think more coherently about the Bible and teach “the whole counsel of God” with greater understanding, depth, reverence, and edification for fellow believers, contributors and editors alike will happily conclude that the thousands of hours invested in this book were a very small price to pay.

After consulting the original biblical texts, this commentary will always be the first place I turn when I am looking to better understand (and share with others) how the New Testament uses the Old. I am grateful for those “thousands of hours invested in this book.”

Thank you to Accordance for providing me with a copy of the Beale/Carson commentary module for review. Scroll through for all six parts of my Accordance 10 review here.

All six parts of my BibleWorks 9 review

Here, collected in one place, are all six parts of my review of the excellent Bible software program, BibleWorks 9:

Prologue: BibleWorks in the pew? (Not quite, but the next best thing) (link)

Part 1: BibleWorks out of the box (setup and layout) (link)

Part 2: The Verse tab (link)

Part 3: Would Mark’s Jesus have us drink snakes and handle poison? 1 of 2: textual criticism in BibleWorks (link)

Part 4: These 4 Perks are Divine in BibleWorks 9 (link)

Part 5: Would Mark’s Jesus have us drink snakes and handle poison? 2 of 2: the BibleWorks Manuscript Project and CNNTS apparatus (link)

My thanks again to the staff at BibleWorks for the review copy. I highly recommend this program to PC users for in-depth Bible study: personal, academic, and/or for ministry purposes. Find the full program contents here.

UPDATE: Go here to see my comparative review of BibleWorks, Accordance, and Logos.

Logos 4 Review: Install and Initial Impressions

I am a first-time user of Logos Bible software. I’ve used other Bible software programs before, on both a PC and a Mac, but here I will review Logos 4 in a series of posts. Today: the installation process and my initial impressions.

For those of you curious about specs, I’m running Logos 4 on Mac OSX (10.8.1) with a recent memory upgrade (4GB of 1067 MHz DDR3) and 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. It’s a three-plus-year-old machine, but in good condition and with decent speed.

Having downloaded Logos 4 to my machine, I signed in to read, “Preparing to download: This may take a while.” Fortunately that part didn’t take that long–under two minutes. “Downloading resources” then followed:

Five minutes later it was just at 6%. Six minutes after that, 14%. But it’s 3.53 GB. The Original Languages Library is big, and I had a few other freebies in my account already. Within 45 minutes all was downloaded. Good time, I thought. Then it went into “Preparing your library: This may take a while…”

But that only took 15 minutes. Just over an hour–start to finish–is pretty good for installing a program of this size and power. What I will want to keep an eye out for is how long it takes to start the program on a daily basis each time I want to use it.

Everything in the installation happens online. There are no DVDs to insert–just create a Logos account, sign in, and Logos knows what to download for you to get you up-to-date. The one log-in works across multiple computers. I’ve got Logos on my Mac right now, but I can just as easily put it on my PC, too. (!) As far as I’m aware, Logos 4 is the only major Bible software that works natively in both the PC and Mac platforms. (BibleWorks at one time had a Mac version under development but has since scrapped it; Mac’s Accordance is coming to Windows in 2013.)

After completing the installation process, the next morning I opened Logos 4. With just two (inactive) Web browsers open, it took about two minutes from the time I clicked the Logos icon to the time it was ready to go. This does seem a longish time (in computer time!) for a program to start. I came to this home screen:

I like being able to see what resources of mine were “updated,” and the “enter passage or topic” search bar is easy to spot right away. As much as I love John Owen, I wasn’t a huge fan of what looked and felt like ads greeting me as I opened this Bible software. This is the program default, but it’s easy to change:

Then, the second time I booted the program up, it was ready to go in less than 45 seconds. Much better.

This morning I received a notification that an update for Logos 4 was ready to be installed. This came automatically. Already I think I am noticing a real strength of this program–how automated everything is with regard to updates, library maintenance, etc.

As a someone whose church uses the lectionary, I especially appreciate being able to see the readings for this Sunday (and “Proper 18”) in the top right of the home screen.

Now for an initial search in that “enter passage or topic” box. Let’s go with Deuteronomy 6:4-9. And… wow. A wealth of information comes up (click for larger):

I can’t wait to use the Andersen-Forbes Phrase Marker Analysis for the Hebrew Bible. It’s exclusive to Logos. (See Logos blog from some time ago on it here and links to tutorial videos here.)

On the left I’ve got a “Passage Guide,” with some of what it pulls up displayed above, and another tab called “Exegetical Guide,” which gives me more detailed information about grammar, visualizations, word-for-word analysis, etc. There are plenty of windows and tabs open, which are easy to move around and re-arrange as I desire.

Getting Logos 4 and the Original Languages library set up was an easy install process. I’m glad for everything taking place so easily over an Internet connection, and I’m hoping that the time it takes to start the program up each time is not much. Time will tell how long the “This may take a while…” screen will actually take each time I use Logos. But with all the tools available above, and many more besides, it looks like I’ll be able to do quite a bit with Logos 4.

Thanks to Logos for the review copy of Logos 4 with the Original Languages Library included. For the review copy I will be giving my honest impressions of the program in a multi-part review.

My 4-year-old son reviews The Beginner’s Bible: Bible Story Favorites

The first story is about Adam and Eve in the Garden. A sneaky snake came, and God said, “Don’t eat fruit from this tree!” Then a big lie comes into the world. Then they have to leave. And then Jesus will always come to save people from their sins.

The next story is about baby Moses. He got put in a basket, because he needed to be hided, because of the king. (He’s a mean one.) So he actually starts crying. Baby Moses starts crying. And I’ll show you, right there–there’s a dragonfly, right by the princess and the baby. Then the princess picked the baby up and said, “I want to keep you.” So Miriam prayed to God, “Please keep Moses safe.” God kept Moses safe, because he watched over Moses.

[The third story] First Joseph’s brothers think he’s bad. They sent him away, far away, to some men, two men riding horses, and the rope tied up to Joseph. And then he goes in jail. And then he meets a man in jail. The man says, “I used to work for the king.” He [Joseph] says, “I had a dream, I gave a drink to the king.” (He wasn’t mean.) Soon the man got out of jail. And then the man went back to work for the king, and he [the king] had a dream. Soon Joseph gets out of jail. And then the king says, “I have a dream. What does it mean?” “It means: save up food.” That’s what all the people did. Soon the food stopped growing. No one had any food, so they went to the king for help. And then Joseph says, “I am your brother.” And they did not know who he was. Joseph looked so different than he did before. “God is good!” Joseph’s brothers cheered. That’s the end.

I like everything about this book. This book is good for people who know Jesus. It comes with a CD that has all the stories that are in the book.

The last two stories are about Jonah (he gets spit out of a whale) and Jesus. Jesus saves everyone from their sins. That’s all I’m going to tell. That’s it. Good-bye! (You have to write “good-bye.”)

Find more about The Beginner’s Bible: Bible Story Favorites at its Zondervan product page or on Amazon by clicking the book’s image above. Read the rest of my 4-year-old son’s reviews here. Jake wishes to comply with FTC guidelines and disclose that he received a review copy of this book from Zondervan, but not with any expectation as to the nature or content of the review.

Would Mark’s Jesus have us handle snakes and drink poison? (part 2 of 2) (BibleWorks 9 review, concluded)

The Gospel of Mark has a couple of possible (disputed) endings. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the options for how to understand Mark’s closing chapter.

It is the so-called longer ending of Mark that has Jesus appearing to some of his followers and talking about their picking up snakes and drinking poison.

Of course, even if the longer ending is authentic and original to Mark, there is still the matter of interpretation. As a way to complete my review of BibleWorks 9, I set out to use BibleWorks to try to examine some of the manuscript evidence. A BibleWorks module of Daniel Wallace’s Greek grammar (included in BW9) offered some insight into interpretation, which you can read briefly here (screenshot).

BibleWorks 9 features the BibleWorks Manuscript Project, where you can “compare and analyze original manuscript text and images.” As a part of the Analysis Window, the manuscripts are integrated with the Browse Window, so that as you move around in the latter, the former tracks with you. The perfect complement to the Manuscripts Project is the Center for New Testament Textual Studies’ (CNTTS) NT Critical Apparatus. BibleWorks describes it:

For the first time, the New Testament Critical Apparatus from the Center for New Testament Textual Studies is available for PCs. This exhaustive apparatus covers the entire New Testament. The BibleWorks version has been enhanced to show a matrix of Aland categories and time period for the mss for each reading. Users will especially appreciate having the apparatus track and update as the mouse moves over the text in the BibleWorks main window. In addition, the start of each verse entry summarizes the significant, insignificant, and singular variants. When examining a variant, the text of the verse is shown with the variant text highlighted. No unlock required!

You can’t get NA27 and its textual apparatus in BibleWorks but with what CNTTS offers (it’s thorough), it doesn’t matter! Greek textual critics benefit immensely from the additions in BibleWorks from version 8 to 9.

BibleWorks has some great mini-training videos. Here they explain the CNTTS Apparatus. And here they discuss the Manuscripts Tab. If you’re serious about either (a) considering purchasing BibleWorks 9 or (b) have it and want to figure out how to use those two features, those two videos will get you there.

Now, on to the manuscript evidence regarding Mark’s ending in BibleWorks 9. This gives an idea of what the program can do in an applied Bible study.

If I’m wondering what Codex Vaticanus (“B”) has in Mark 16:9, I can simply select that Codex in the drop-down menu in the Mss Tab. (BibleWorks refers to it as m-3, too.) The screenshot below (click for larger) shows that there’s no image for Vaticanus at 16:9. This is because Vaticanus ends Mark at 16:8.

Note, too, something I find exceedingly helpful in the bottom right of the shot above–a key to not only BibleWorks’ manuscript numbering system but to abbreviations for manuscripts, their dates, and their contents. This is the stuff budding text critics always have to look up, flipping from page to page and resource to resource. (Or just using that little insert in the NA27. But this is easier!)

In fact, by right-clicking when you do see an image (e.g., Vaticanus at Mark 16:8), you can “load image in viewer” to pull it out and look at it more closely. There you can zoom and drag your way through the various parts of the text. It looks like this:

The top right section of the Mss Tab (in the full screenshot image above) lines up the various readings available in the manuscripts that BibleWorks contains. I can quickly see that “A” (Alexandrinus) and “W” (Washingtonianus) do have text for a longer ending of mark. Pulling up the image for Alexandrinus, I see this for Mark 16:9 ff.:

Hovering over the verse references (superimposed over the manuscript) brings up the pop-up window that you see there, where I can compare the given manuscript, the English, and the BGT Greek text in BibleWorks. (!!) This is all pretty amazing.

The Mss Tab is easy to figure out. Using the CNNTS Apparatus was less than intuitive for me. But this BibleWorks video explained it quite well. I’ve had to work at it to figure out how to best use it, but having done that, it’s a great apparatus. Especially helpful is its classification of variation types (significant, insignificant, lacunae, etc.). The Apparatus is chock full of abbreviations to learn, but what critical apparatus isn’t? And this one hyperlinks the abbreviations to what they stand for, so it’s not too bad.

For the Greek manuscripts that include some parts of the Septuagint (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus), I would love to be able to see both testaments in future BibleWorks editions. That was a loss for me, especially given my appreciation of the Septuagint. So be aware that even though BibleWorks has images of manuscripts that contain parts of the LXX, it’s just the New Testament that appears in BibleWorks.

But the images are already some 8 GB, and this is a work in progress (with future updates promised), so the lack of the LXX/Old Greek is understandable. Viewing Hebrew manuscripts in the future would also be awesome! Until then, what BibleWorks includes and gives the user access to (as part of the purchase price) is pretty remarkable.

BibleWorks won’t actually answer the question I posed in the title of this post: Would Mark’s Jesus have us handle snakes and drink poison? Exegetes will always have to interpret and answer questions like this. (This one’s a bit of a softball, admittedly.) BibleWorks also can’t determine with certainty what the actual ending of Mark is.

But it can sure show you a lot of evidence, and give you just about everything you need to try to have an informed opinion on the matter. Being able to look at images of actual manuscripts still boggles my mind. And it’s not only being able to view those manuscripts (much of which you could do online anyway)–it’s the fact that they’re tied to BibleWorks’ analysis tools that’s truly astounding to me. BibleWorks has enhanced my Bible study immensely.

BibleWorks 9 is easily a five-star program in my book. I’ve enjoyed being able to review it.

See all that’s new in BibleWorks 9 here.

I received a free upgrade to BibleWorks 9 in exchange for an unbiased review. (Thank you, BibleWorks!) See the other parts of my BibleWorks review here. You can order the full program here or upgrade here. It’s on Amazon (affiliate link), too.

My 4-year-old son reviews Field of Peace by Joyce Meyer

This book is about baseball. Buh-buh-buh-buh baseball!

Some of the characters’ names are Boyd, Arnold, Coach Pouch. Boyd is trying to win the baseball game.

Arnold the Armadillo turns into a big ball, because he’s hiding. That means he’s scared. He curls up. The team stops and loses, but the giraffe tries to win.

When they lose, the giraffe feels bad.

The skunk has a rake. He sprays, and then the giraffe has a hat on his nose because it’s stinky!

Boyd [the giraffe] thinks that Arnold wouldn’t win the Wilds’ championship. Then Arnold was by himself in the field because they were gone. But then everyone misses him.

Boyd feels bad because he misses Arnold. So he tries to get Arnold.

And he [Arnold] did this–he batted the ball even though he was a little ball.

At the end of the book, Boyd is feeling peaceful inside. That means you’re feeling happy!

My favorite part is when Arnold shook his hands down and up, down and up, because he was scared. This book made me feel good. I’ll show you what I really like: it has “peaceful” inside the book.

My 4-year-old son received an Advanced Review Copy of Field of Peace from Zonderkidz. Find more about Field of Peace on Amazon or at Zondervan. It’s slated to release September 4. Read the rest of my 4-year-old son’s reviews here.

My 4-year-old son reviews a Duncan Butterfly yo-yo

Not long after my 4-year-old son began doing book reviews on my blog (the best part of this blog, according to some), he had an idea.

“I know, Dad. We could review a toy! We could review a yo-yo!”

I emailed the folks at Duncan, not sure if there even is such a thing as a “review copy” of a toy, but, lo and behold, we got a yo-yo in the mail this week. Below, my 4-year-old son reviews it. Before we could profitably use it, we shortened the string, using this video to guide us, although the packaging did include instructions for that. Here’s my 4-year-old son now, in order of his observations as he played with it:

I’m not really good at using a yo-yo because I just learned.

In response to his two-year-old brother’s “Is it mine?”  “Nope, not yours. It’s mine.  So don’t play with it.”

I don’t think I can do it, Daddy. This is too hard for me. It’s good! But I don’t really know how to use it yet.

It’s a good knocker. It’s a good yo-yo.

I’ll tell you how it works. You roll it up, once you already use it first, and all we have to do is just get it up to your hands and pull it down and then bring it back up. That’s the end. That’s it.

(Later) It’s really easy to use.

(Later later) I can’t really do it! This knocker’s not very easy. I got to go to bed. Good night!

The folks who gave us a yo-yo for review (thanks!) emphasized that it’s for ages six and up. I see the wisdom in their age recommendation. Perhaps when “my 4-year-old son” becomes “my 6-year-old son,” we can have another go. For now, he’s finding other ways of having fun with the yo-yo, racing through the house and dragging it behind him.

UPDATE, three days later: See his original artwork (a yo-yo) here.