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Hanging Out with Jesus Again by Bob Hartman  

Bob Hartman is a master story-teller who brings us right into the world of Jesus with engaging characters that we can identify with - every household and church should have copies of this 


Hanging out with Jesus - HartmHanging Out with Jesus Again
By Bob Hartman
ISBN No: 9781788931199
Reviewed By: Moira Kleissner

Stories are important for adults as well as children. A good storyteller who can establish clear characters, action and sense of place, drawing the hearer/reader into the world they are creating and is a joy to read/listen to. Sadly many children’s Bible story books are prosaic and don’t catch children’s imagination, disenfranchising them from the Bible. This isn’t one of them. Every household and church should have copies of this book (and its previous volume Hanging Out with Jesus).
Bob Hartman is a master story-teller who brings us right into the world of Jesus with engaging characters that we can identify with – laugh with and at. It’s a joy to read for adults too, so don’t be put off with the idea that it is just for children. We all have a child inside us who loves fun and slap stick. That’s why we enjoy the panto season!
These stories are beautifully crafted and structured. They are short enough for a bedtime read. Word of advice for adults: don’t read them on public transport – or the other passengers might think you’re nuts, as you laugh out loud at the antics of the three friends as they travel with Jesus.
This is the second volume of 12 stories featuring three crazy pals who like to “hang out” with Jesus; Big Bart, Tomo and Pip. The stories are told by Pip. This incorrigible trio are not the best known of the disciples and provide a humorous side-show to the main characters without distracting from the story. This means lots of humour, getting the wrong end of the stick and messing about. Children will love the “pants” references, “poo ball fights,” the many ways that you can enjoy “delicious” goat meat in the form of “goat on a stick” “goat in a jar,” “goat on a rope” and Mrs Cleopas’s “Goat and goat-gut pie.”!
At the same time there is a serious retelling of the Biblical stories towards the end of Jesus life and the resurrection. The gospel story isn’t lost but enhanced in these retellings. The crucifixion isn’t describe but handled expertly with the betrayal of Judas and everyone fleeing. When some of them meet up again, Tomo and Jesus are missing and everyone is frightened. The joy as different characters tell of the resurrection is a master stroke, with just the faintest touch of humour, not to overwhelm the children. I thought this was expertly handled and letting us into the thoughts and feelings of those who were there.
The simple line illustrations add to the humour, characters and telling of the story. What better way to introduce children aged five and above to the stories of Jesus than this volume and its predecessor.

Moira Kleissner is a retired Primary Deputy Head, storyteller, trainer and minister’s wife


Baptist Times, 24/06/2021
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