VeggieTales’ creator Vischer wants kids to know biggest story of all

By Carrie Brown McWhorter
The Alabama Baptist

Storytelling has been at the heart of Phil Vischer’s creative process since the very first VeggieTales video released in 1993. 

Now the biggest story of all — God’s story as told from Genesis to Revelation — is the focus of his first storybook, the “Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids.”

Vischer, who co-created VeggieTales and voiced many of the characters, including Bob the Tomato, has spent much of his career finding innovative ways to teach biblical truths. 

A printed book might seem like a step back technologically speaking but Vischer told The Alabama Baptist that’s not the case.

“We have a generation where the 20-somethings are going and buying vinyl records again because there’s something about having a tangible copy of something, something you can hold as opposed to, ‘All my music is in the cloud,’” Vischer said.

Reading is still an important part of the child-parent bond, Vischer said.

“With a video you can’t curl up with your kids in bed and read them a story,” Vischer said. “It’s just something you do best with a book.”

Raising readers

Bedtime reading is vital for child development and forming strong relationships between children and their parents, grandparents or other caregivers, Vischer said. 

The “Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids” is a tool for fostering the habit of reading but more importantly the habit of daily Bible reading.

“We all want our kids reading the Bible throughout their lives,” Vischer said. “But it’s hard to start an 8-year-old on a full-text King James or NIV and say ‘Good luck.’”

The “Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids” divides the Bible into 52 stories written in language accessible for younger children. 

Complex concepts like sin and the Trinity are addressed in simple language and family connection questions after each story offer a starting point for conversations. Perhaps most importantly the Bible stories are told in order, which is different than what many children get in Sunday School, Vischer said. 

“Quite often if kids are experiencing the Bible in Sunday School or through other books they’re getting Bible stories but not in context,” Vischer said. “This week it’s Moses, next week it’s Noah’s Ark, the next week it’s Jesus.”

What children miss in that approach is how the Bible stories connect to tell a bigger story, Vischer said. Culture gives children those grand narratives, he said — “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter” and “The Avengers” — and children gravitate toward them.

“Kids want life to have a big story behind it and if we don’t give them one they’re going to go find one somewhere else,” Vischer said.

As a “Bible on training wheels,” the “Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids” presents God’s big story in an accessible way so when children are older they can dig deeper into stories and truths that are already familiar to them, he said.

The “Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids” is also available in audiobook format and VeggieTales fans will enjoy hearing Vischer’s distinctive voice and humor as they listen to the stories. The audio version is another way for children to interact with the stories in their own ways, Vischer said

New episodes

Now a grandfather himself Vischer hopes a new generation will discover the wonder of God’s story and their place in it through projects like the “Laugh and Learn Bible for Kids” and new episodes of VeggieTales, 18 of which are in the works. The first new VeggieTales video — “The Best Christmas Gift” — released Oct. 22. 

New VeggieTales episodes will be released on DVD, streaming and broadcast but dates haven’t been announced. More information is available at