Monday, July 7, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 79

Picture Book: Verdi

Author & Illustrator: Janell Cannon

Summary: Verdi, a young python who leaves his mother to venture into the world, is puzzled when she tells him to “grow up big and green.” He doesn’t want to be green; he likes his bright yellow skin and bold stripe. The green pythons (adults) he meets, seem lazy & boring. Some are even rude, refusing to climb trees with him. Verdi begins testing his physical limits, trying methods to keep his skin from turning green, and declaring he will never be “lazy, boring or green!” Eventually he injures himself and has to stay put for a lengthy time. Once able to move again, he must accept that he is green and being still is not so terrible after all. Stillness allows him to marvel at subtle changes in nature. When 2 young pythons approach, Verdi shows them more hospitality than he received and invites them to climb trees with him. He even shows them some of his fancy moves.

Hanna’s Comments: This is a beautifully illustrated picture book about generational differences and our tendency to criticize the lifestyle of those who are older or younger than us. Although Verdi begins as arrogant and inattentive, he learns to appreciate the perspective of the older pythons but refuses to rudely separate himself from the younger snakes. Is this a lesson in which some members of your religious community might benefit? Check out the author’s Snake Notes in the back.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1997

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 56

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio cassette

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, adventure, aging, ancestors/matriarchs/patriarchs, babies/children, beginnings/morning, change, grandparents, growing up/growth, judgment/judges/judging, laziness/sloth, mentors/teachers, prayer, pride, strength/strength in God, time/timing/over time, transformation, wisdom

Scripture Connections: the respect offered and teachings of patriarchs/matriarchs/elders/saints of your community, prayers of contemplation

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a fun book to read at an inter-generational meal. Afterwards, invite folks to list what they value in generations other than their own. 

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