Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 150

Picture Book: Spuds

Author: Karen Hesse

Illustrator: Wendy Watson

Summary: To help out a hard-working mother, her 3 children sneak out into the night to glean potatoes from their neighbor’s field. Once home, they discover they have picked up mostly rocks. Ma discovers their thievery and forces them to confess to their neighbor, return what they’ve stolen, and apologize. They are surprised to hear no fury from their neighbor, but gratitude, for they have cleared stones from that part of his field. Additionally, he says they are welcome to glean anytime. They return home with the spuds and have a ‘tater feast.” Narrator and middle child, Jack, says that his Ma’s love is big enough to turn, “even 3 little spuds like us into something mighty fine.”  

Hanna’s Comments: This beautiful story of sacrificial parenting and neighborly generosity is full of possible connections to scripture. I think of a desperate Ruth gleaning in Boaz’s field. There is the description of the ideal woman described in Proverbs 31. Also, I think of the many times the Israelites, and later Christians, are compelled to help out widows and orphans. There is no mention of a father in this story. Perhaps he is away at war or dead. Either way, the mother has the sole responsibility for providing for these 3 children.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 2008

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 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: action, adaptation/assimilation, adventure, anxiety/worry, babies/children, caring/tending, challenges, confession, consequences/punishment, darkness/evening/night, dependence/interdependence, difficulties, disappointment, family, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, forgiveness/justifying grace/mercy/redemption, found, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, grace, guilt, harvest, helping, insecurity, labor/work, land/mountains/soil, mistakes, mothers, neighbors, poaching/stealing/theft, poverty, regret/repentance, rocks/shells/stones, searching, sharing, siblings/sibling rivalry, sin, at table, treasure

Scripture Connections: Ruth gleans in Boaz’s field (Ruth 2); whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17); the ideal woman (Proverbs 31:25-29; Who is my neighbor? (Luke 10:29)

Idea(s) for Application: Besides the applications listed above, I could see this book used in an adult lesson about caring for neighbors, praying for neighbors, and being involved in our neighborhoods. Lately I’ve heard several complaints about how we don’t know our neighbors anymore and yet our scriptures use the term “neighbor” repeatedly to compel us to tend to one another. 

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