Friday, June 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 69

Picture Book: Unlovable

Author & Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino 

Summary: Because of how he looks, Alfred, a pug, has to put up with the taunts of his family’s cat, bird, and neighborhood animals. The cat has even taught the bird to call Alfred, “Unlovable.” Alfred comes to believe he is unlovable. When a family moves in on the other side of the tall fence, Alfred communicates with a potential new dog friend, Rex. Relieved that he can’t be seen and desiring a friend so badly, Alfred says he is a golden retriever. Once their friendship grows, Alfred regrets his lie. When Rex digs under the fence to meet Alfred face to face, Alfred’s lie and their shared breed is revealed. The 2 pugs then discover what true friendship is all about.   

Hanna’s Comments: This simple tale has a lot to say about how words can hurt and shame can jeopardize potential friendships. Too often harsh words & negative labels are accepted in families and in religious communities. Shame is a heavy burden that affects long-term. This book offers an opportunity for children to talk about social bullying and the harm it can do. Having these kinds of conversations in your religious community offers a way to frame this issue with your community’s values in mind. 

Publisher and Date of Publication: Scholastic, 2001

Age and Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32                                                                                             
Available in Spanish? Not at present                                                         
Formats other than Book: None at present  

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abuse/abuse of power, acceptance, anxiety/worry, beauty, bonds/connections, brokenness, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, cruelty, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, difficulties, disception/dishonesty/lies/lying, exclusion/inclusion, friends/friendship, hiding/isolation/separation/walls, identity/names, injustice, insecurity, intolerance, judgment/judges/judging, justice, loneliness, neighbors, prejudice, relationships, secrets, self-acceptance/self-image/self-esteem, surprise, truth

Scripture Connections: God’s instructions to Samuel to not judge based on looks but based on the heart instead (1 Samuel 16:7); Judge not that you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1, Luke 6:37)

Idea(s) for Application: as part of a lesson on judging others and the harm it can do to individuals and community; part of a lesson on unconditional love 

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