The Oldest Bedtime Story Ever was named a Top Religion and Spirituality Book for Youth by Booklist.

It won two independent children's publishing awards: the Moonbeam Gold Medal for Religion/Spirituality and the Bronze Medal for Book Art.

In 2017, the book was selected to be gifted to the participants in the Harlem Week Spelling Bee and to Harlem Week Lifetime Achievement Winner Dionne Warwick.

The News about Jesus and How He Saved the World has won the Illumination Award for Children's Picture Books and the Indie Book Award for Illustration. 

In addition to receiving a Junior Library Guild Golden Standard Seal, it was named an Indie Book Finalist for Children's Non-Fiction, a National Indie Excellence Finalist for Children's Religious Books, and an International Book Awards Finalist for Children's Religious Books. It then won four Purple Dragonfly Honorable Mentions for Illustrations, Spiritual/Religious Books, Picture Books, and Children's Non-fiction.


Booklist, starred review by Ilene Cooper, Nov. 2012

“There are many books of Bible stories for children, but this handsome, oversize addition is not quite like the others. Morse, both biblical scholar and artist, takes the familiar (and not so familiar) stories, trims them to a few lines or paragraphs, and fills in the blanks with wonderfully original artwork… An ambitious offering, successfully accomplished.” 

Publishers Weekly, Nov. 2012

“In this delightful retelling of the biblical story … Morse’s scholarship and appreciation for the Bible is obvious, and he does a masterful job of making readers part of the story. Bedtime story or not, children and adults will relish this journey of epic proportions.” 

Jewish Book World, starred review by Michal Hoschander Malen, Jun. 2013

“This beautiful, brilliant work of art is a book to open again and again. The stories of the Bible are cleverly condensed with the gist of each section expertly captured in just a few lines and then creatively illustrated with collage against a black background, making the artwork pop ... This unusual and very special book is recommended for ages four and up but it really, truly means up; adults will be entranced and enchanted. Children and adults sharing this book together will have a very special experience in store.” 

School Library Journal, review by Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL, Feb. 2013

"The art stars in this 'light but faithful summary' (according to the jacket flap) of the Old Testament. ... Bold paper-cut collages pop against black pages, as does the large white text. Both art and narrative are scrupulously footnoted. ... readers will pore over the illustrations. A good choice to supplement collections that already offer meatier versions of Bible stories."

Daddy Confidential, Mar. 2013 

Morse manages to simplify the Old Testament without ever patronizing his young audience. He faithfully presents episodes of pathos, violence and mystery as timeless human experience. Yet he emphasizes the recurring themes of hope, perseverance, and justice

... Morse’s prose reflects a love for the text that is both scholarly and personal. And his telling honors the shared legacy of the Hebrew Bible, without excluding any singular interpretation ... Most sensational are the illustrations. So many [other] biblical drawings preempt your imagination, leading you by the nose to stodgy visions of a bearded God or men in tunics. Morse deploys a dazzling array of shapes, patterns, color and even textures. He’s created mesmerizing collages to fuel the visions of any aspiring prophet.

Nicholas Fox Weber, Executive Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, and biographer of Le Corbusier, Balthus, and Mondrian

“I just love The Oldest Bedtime Story Ever. The style of the illustrations reminds me of Nicolas De Stael's collages -- which from me is a major major compliment -- and the way the text is written is lively and engrossing. Beyond that, I learned a lot that I did not know previously.” 

The Salem News, review by Barbara Anderson, Nov. 2012 

"A joyous work of art”

Interfaith Family

“All the stories you know and many of those you don’t in a unique, oversized picture book using minimalist art that will have you and your kids smiling, talking, explaining, laughing and wondering. What a perfect way to start a discussion about a Torah topic. In addition, the website associated with this book has fun activities for all levels of skill and interest.” 

Jane Ciabattari, National Book Critics Circle

“A gorgeous retelling with original illustrations: a new delight for all”

The Rev. Prof. Jane Shaw, Dean of Religious Studies, Stanford University, and former Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

“Morse has an extraordinary gift for opening up scripture to people – so that we understand something that is several thousand years old and that has become very opaque to us. His beautiful version of the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures is amazingly ambitious.”

Ellen F. Davis, Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke University

"I am delighted by it! It gathers up [the author's] knowledge, humor, imagination, aesthetic brilliance, and faith in the most wonderful way possible. It looks like the work of many years that it is." 

Paul M. Joyce, Samuel Davidson Professor and Head of the Department of Theology & Religious Studies, King’s College, London

"Visually and textually The Oldest Bedtime Story Ever is a creative delight. Its beauty and fun will enchant people of all ages, colours and creeds."

Rev. Prof. Diarmaid MacCulloch, Oxford University, award-winning author of A History of Christianity

“Happy is the child who meets the Bible through this imaginative rendering of the Hebrew Scriptures. Both its words and its pictures are strong, simple and full of wit. Enjoy a many-layered work which happily gives a sense of the many layers in the Bible text beyond it, and beckons towards further biblical adventures.”

Association of Jewish Libraries, review by Ellen G. Cole, Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles, Sept./Oct. 2013

Striking illustrations and edgy text deliver the sweeping saga of the Jews from our Bible and beyond ... The vocabulary is strong (Exodus defined as the “historic liberation from slavery”), relationships are mature (Delilah is Samson’s “lover”), actions are weighed (Cain acts “even worse than his parents”), context is provided (Abraham did not have to sacrifice his son as many gods (then) demanded their people do), the art is blatant (pregnant Leah and Rachel in designer maternity clothes) ... or thought provoking (a seven-line rainbow, no blue, three purples) ... The amount of information that darts through 70 pages (plus seven of notes) is staggering. The excellent layout and choice of words make this book digestible and exciting. ... Sophisticated art — mobile, offbeat, tactile, and enticing — supports the text. This new bible summary is wonderful: biblically/historically chronological, smart, short, clear, clever and meaningful: highly recommended for all libraries.

A note for parents

An article in the Telegraph about the importance of reading to your child can be found here: