Digital and electronic media are increasingly providing avenues for creative outreaches for the Bible and the Christian faith. Phil Vischer, best known for his creation of beloved VeggieTales, has produced a new storybook Bible. This Laugh and Learn Bible is now available in new media formats. In addition, 18 new VeggieTales episodes are in production. The first new episode, The Best Christmas Gift, became available on October 22, 2019.
These episodes are due out on TBN for TV viewing. TBN is the world’s largest faith and family broadcaster, reaching over 175 nations on 32 global networks. Its US reach is over 100 million households.
Further, these episodes are due for release for streaming and DVD. They will be available on DVD in WalMart, Target, and CBA channel retail stores. They are also due for release on JellyTelly and on most digital and SVOD platforms.
Introducing the Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids
The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids is produced by FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group. FaithWords is adding this publication to the already-popular collection of FaithWords kids’ books by author Phil Vischer. Now, the Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids is available wherever books are bought.
The Laugh and Learn Bible is connecting families in new and deepening ways to share a whole new Bible experience, combining fun and Truth. The resources that accompany this Bible are amazing. They include the following: a printed book, e-book, and audiobook narrated by author Phil Vischer. Phil has released this interactive Laugh and Learn Bible to capture and keep the attention of both kids and adults, helping both to go deeper and wider in their Biblical knowledge and Christian faith.
Phil is an author, speaker, filmmaker, and voice actor best known for the Christian children’s series VeggieTales. This series he created in a spare bedroom as a 25-year-old, newly married artist. Since then, Phil has continued to pursue innovative ways to integrate faith and storytelling through fun and practical resources for families. These resources are intended to deepen and widen Biblical knowledge and Christian faith. Collectively, Phil’s creations, which include the educational series What’s in the Bible? and the autobiographical book Me, Myself & Bob, have sold more than 70 million copies around the world.
In 2003, Phil sold Big Ideas Productions to Classic Media, which was later purchased by DreamWorks Animation in 2012. Comcast’s NBCUniversal bought DreamWorks Animation in 2016. Since then, Universal Studios has owned the VeggieTales rights.
In 2019, Universal Studios greenlit a new series, The VeggieTales Show, which began airing on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and Smile on October 22, 2019. On March 28, 2019, Vischer announced that he, Mike Nawrocki, and Universal Studios were developing a screenplay for a new VeggieTales theatrical movie. VeggieTales co-creators Phil and Mike wrote most of the new episodes and will also reprise their roles as the show’s hosts, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber.
Dr. Diane Howard has an exclusive interview with Phil Vischer. They discuss the Laugh and Learn Bible, its resources, and new VeggieTales episodes:
DH: How is The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids and resources interactive?
PV: The goal is for parents and/or grandparents to read, discuss, and pray together with this material that includes questions and follow-up prayers.
DH: How do The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids and resources serve kids and adults?
PV: Often churches ask parents to disciple their kids, when the parents may not have been discipled. With these materials kids and parents learn together, gaining an overview of the Bible.
DH: What is the mission of The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids and Veggie Tales episodes?
PV: The mission of the first Veggie Tales focused on the core issues that God has made each of us special and loves us very much. Laugh and Learn Bible takes kids and adults deeper into the Bible. The new Veggie Tales take kids and adults deeper into theology and include some more obscure stories.
DH: How are the new VeggieTales like the earlier ones and how are they different or updated?
PV: The first phase of Veggie Tales included shorter stories. There were longer stories in the middle phase that were more elaborate and with more entertainment. The third phase is more like those in the beginning. Even Universal Studios, who is producing them now, has asked for VeggieTales to be more like the original ones.
DH: Are the older VeggieTales films still available?
PV: Yes, they are still available on VHS and DVD on sites such as Amazon.
DH: Why are the VeggieTales characters so appealing?
PV: Most basically, they are round in shape. Round shapes, like Mickey Mouse who is made with all circles, are more friendly. The Veggie Tales characters take some things seriously, but not all.
DH: What is the value of comedy?
PV: Humor is disarming. The shared experience of laughter is bonding. It helps us to laugh at ourselves and to accept our own weaknesses. In Veggie Tales, what is not sacred is fair game for fun and humor. Most people live in the middle of pain and laughter. Veggie Tales brings together both the sacred and the silly, helping us to be comfortable with both.
DH: What issues are addressed in the new Veggie Tales episodes?
PV: Of the 18 new episodes, I wrote 10 which are about the fruit of the spirit from the book of Galatians. Kids experience a challenge and the fruit of the spirit provides solutions, which help the kids’ development.
DH: Do VeggieTales have universal appeal?
PV: We have seen that they have universal appeal in the English-speaking world of Western Christianity. Few Veggie Tales have yet been translated.
DH: Where, how can The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids and the new VeggieTales be found?
PV: The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids is available on Amazon and everywhere that kids’ books are sold. The new Veggie Tales episodes are due out on TBN and streaming.
The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids (and Parents!)
The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids” contains 52 five-minute stories from Genesis to Revelation. Each story captures a “big-picture view of the entire Bible” and includes a summary page at the end encouraging discussion between adults and their kids.
Vischer shared that the Bible also helps parents, who might not be as familiar with biblical stories, learn right along with the kids.
In a post announcing the launch, Vischer said that kids are trying to find themselves in fiction, such as Lord of the Rings. This interactive Bible will help them find their place in the important story of the Bible.
[Kids] want to be a part of a big story and the way that we tell the Bible often, we cut it up into little pieces and they can never find themselves in the macro story, the big story, of the Bible,” he said.
His new Bible came after Vischer sold his business, Big Idea Productions. According to World Magazine, he “spent time praying, studying the Bible, and evaluating his goals. That led him to a greater desire to help children and their parents grow in biblical literacy.” Nine years later, in 2012, he released ‘What’s In the Bible?’, a video series for children. Phil shared,
It’s hard for kids to make sense of a book as big and complex as the Bible. That’s why we often just tell our kids a few of the simpler stories, and then skip the rest. But kids need more than snapshots from the Bible, they need to see how the whole Bible fits together to tell one amazing story. That’s what I tried to do with my video series What’s in the Bible?, and it’s what I’m doing now with the Laugh & Learn Bible for Kids. By helping kids see the big picture, we help them find their own place in it. After all, we know kids love big, exciting, redemptive stories. That’s why superheroes, Star Wars… are so popular. With this Bible we’re actually IN that kind of epic story, and every kid can be a part of it.”
The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids is more than a children’s Bible storybook, it’s a deep, engaging, laugh-out-loud gospel experience. It guides readers from Genesis to Revelation, retelling beloved Bible stories AND tackling challenging questions like “What is sin?” and “What is the Trinity?”
Each story is vividly illustrated and takes just five minutes to read. They include an interactive family connection to encourage family Bible study and help readers learn, talk, and pray together! Bonus content also connects the dots of each Bible story, making the Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids a family devotional Bible. It provides a big picture, applicational view of the Biblical narrative.
The Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids is available on Amazon and wherever Christian books are sold.