Children’s Heroes of the Bible aka “Great Stories – Bible Stories” was a 13 episode Bible cartoon made in 1978 by the American Lutheran Church. From my knowledge this is the first Bible cartoon made. The animation is stiff and angular and if it was just the animation I would never use this series in teaching, but this cartoon series has three things that I find very special.
- The voice acting, thinking back to my favorite cartoons “Super Friends” and “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” those cartoons had a strong sense of heroism embedded in them and that was a result of the strong voices and heroic music. These Bible cartoons were a result of the same philosophy, they are not going for realism with their voice acting, but strength of voice and theme. The voice acting is actually very intense.
- Each 30 minute episode is a bunch of short five minute episodes tagged together, meaning it is easy to extract just a single Bible story form the whole to use in teaching.
- The third thing this cartoon series has going for it is an episode on Jeremiah, which if you were to look through the other ten or more Bible cartoons that have been made an episode on Jeremiah is very hard to find. The reason is that the book of Jeremiah unlike other books in the Bible that are easier to read, switches from prophetic doom to narrative story and back and most of it is not chronological so it is very difficult to tell what is going on. Finding someone that will adapt a cartoon for that is difficult. They definitely deserves props.
The amazing thing is that even if you are unsure about the series or using it in any form of teaching, the whole season is available on DVD for $1.99 at Christian Book right now. Currently I use Jeremiah arguing with the priests to open a 4 parter on the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem.