Monday, September 15, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 149

Picture Book: The Friend

Author: Sarah Stewart

Illustrator: David Small

Summary: This beautiful book in verse is the story of a fair and quirky preschooler, Belle,  who lives in a mansion by the sea with her mostly absent parents and a black housekeeper/caregiver, Bea, who watches over her daily while doing chores. They head to the beach to play at the end of most days. One day, Belle heads to the beach on her own. Bea senses her absence and frantically runs to the beach just in time to save her. At the end, we see an adult Belle looking out to sea and remembering her loving caregiver.

Hanna’s Comments: I especially loved this book when I first read it because of Bea’s character. I saw both a Christ-like and feminine God quality to her loving care and guardianship of Belle. This is a wonderful book for expanding children’s or adult’s views of God as more than masculine or white. The dedication in the back is especially poignant: "To all the people across the world who have saved the lives of children by paying attention when others did not - but especially to Ola Beatrice Smith." This kind of personal tribute makes this story that much more powerful.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2004

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, kindergarten and up

# of Pages: 48

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio CD, The video on is from Described and Captioned Media, meaning that this video is adapted for those who are visually impaired.

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: affection, affirmation, attentiveness/observation/seeing, babies/children, beach/ocean/pond/river/sea/shore, beauty, belonging, blessings, bonds/connections, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, commitment, companionship, creation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, danger, dependence/interdependence, differences, disobedience/obedience, encouragement, the environment/nature, equality/inequality, family, found, friend/friendship, fruit/fruit of the Spirit, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, God’s presence, God’s will, goodness, grace, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, heroes, home, image of God, intercession, Jesus, kindness, labor/work, love, mothers, neglect, nurturing, parables/stories, parental love, patience, play, presence, protecting/protection, race relations/racism, relationships, rescue, safety, savior/saving, servant hood/service/serving, steadfastness, survival, wisdom

Scripture Connections: Love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4); Let all you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14); For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people (Titus 2:11); We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19)

Idea(s) for Application: The love of our creator is so vast that we have to try to understand it through metaphor and human forms. This picture book offers a rich image of a loving and sensitive caretaker and protector. 

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