Sunday, June 07, 2009

Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament by ChristineMM

Title: Word of Promise Next Generation New Testament
Genre: Bible, New Testament Dramatization for Children
ISBN-13: 978-1400313273
Full Retail Price: $49.99

My Rating: 2 stars = “I Don’t Like It”

Summary Statement: Mismatched Actor Emotions to What is Being Said, Bad Music Match to Content

I delayed in publishing this review because my opinion dissents from the majority. After discussing this with some other Christian parents they implored me to share my honest thoughts. I was also feeling guilty to share a negative review of a Bible product, to be honest.

I had high hopes for this as I wanted to hear a dramatized version of the New Testament for my own entertainment and information. I had hoped to share it with my tween-aged kids and the idea of them liking it enough to listen to it voluntarily appealed to me greatly.

I think this dramatization is of poor quality, not sound quality but it is a poor translation with a bare minimum of “dramatization”. It is more like an audio book being read aloud with a music track running at the same time. There are not enough sound effects to flesh out the scenes appropriately. In a scene with a crowd there is just music then a few voices at the end. In a scene with a boat there was music then a few lapping waves. Big deal.

I found it weird and distracting that a lot of the time the music track was not the same emotion or pace as what was being said. A serious scene should not have ‘happy and light’ music. The emotions were mismatched. Some of the music is classical type and others seems more of the new age-meditation type music.

The worst thing of all was the voice of Jesus Christ. This ruined the whole thing for me and caused me to give up listening to this a couple of times. There was only one tone to his voice, a monotone kind of hippie Kumbaya voice. To be blunt he sounded like he was high on drugs, mellowed out. In scenes where Jesus says things in anger, the voice was not angry. In scenes where a faster paced voice or a louder voice or a commanding voice was appropriate, the same monotone voice, quiet and calm was used. It was very strange and distracting with a tone one imagines someone saying “peace brother, God is Love”.

I had to keep playing some sections over and over as I was so distracted by the mismatch of emotion or the music that I had missed the content of what was said.

When my kids saw the box they were excited as they recognized many faces and names from the Disney channel shows. However they would have trouble following this as they are used to high quality recordings of audio books from Recorded Books publisher. This is not up to their standards.

As an example of what I think is a high quality dramatized product for children, I have read all the Chronicles of Narnia paper books, heard all the Recorded Books produced audio books and then heard the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre dramatized version of all the books (ISBN 978-1589971493). And I’ve seen the two movies that have been released in the last few years. That dramatization by Focus on the Family is a great example of the way a very good book can be adapted into an excellent dramatization by use of voices talking to each other with appropriate emotion with a small amount of narration and lots of sound effects (not simply reading the book aloud with mainly music in the background and a few sound effects thrown in here and there).

For my children and myself, I think I will find an audio book version of the New Testament and Old Testament with a high quality reader (even if it was produced for an adult audience), and scratch the idea of a dramatization or something special geared toward kids.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this product from the Amazon Vine product review program.

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