Monday, November 3, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 198

Picture Book: Fu Finds the Way

Author & Illustrator: John Rocco

Summary: Fu is an inattentive and apathetic Chinese boy. While planting rice, he imagines himself battling dragons. His father tells him to re-plant the crooked rows and exhorts him to care more because that is ”the way.” Fu’s anger and impulsivity causes him to insult a Chinese warrior who then challenges Fu to a duel the next morning. Frantic, Fu grabs his father’s sword and goes to the Master, but he is confused by the Master’s methods. Instead of teaching Fu how to battle, he teaches him how to serve tea. The instructive tea ceremony is slow-paced, repetitive, and leads Fu into imaginative dreams that teach him to have purpose, flow, and patience. When morning comes, Fu grabs the tea set rather than the sword, meets the warrior, and serves him tea. The warrior is so moved by the beauty of Fu’s tea ceremony that he does not want to fight. Instead he says, “You have the way.”

Hanna’s Comments: This book reminds me of the movie, Karate Kid except for its setting and pace. Fu has only an evening to prepare for his confrontation. His anxiety lessens as he allows the Master to help him become more contemplative and fully present in the moment. This is a good lesson for all of us, particularly when caught up in the fast-pace of modern life or the inner world of our imaginations. Neither allows for self-contemplation and being fully present with others in our community who need us. I was also struck with the use of the phrase, “the way.” Early on, Christianity was referred to as “The Way.” Early Christians were “People of the Way.” Consider finding the connections between the 3 goals of the Master’s teaching (to acquire purpose, flow, and patience) and the ways of early Christians. See the Author’s Note for the inspiration for this book.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Hyperion Books, 2009

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, anxiety/worry, Asia, bravery/courage, challenges, commitment, conflict, consequences/punishment, disputes/fighting/opposition, doubt, drink/thirst, education/learning/school, encouragement, fear, gentleness/meekness, humility, mentors/teachers, mistakes, non-violence/peaceful resistance, pacifism/peace/peacemakers, patience, power, preparation, presence, pride, purpose, quiet/silence, reverence, risking, safety, at table, transformation, underdogs, waiting, water, wisdom

Scripture Connections: David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:1-58)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider reading this book to a group of older kids when you are presenting a lesson on David and Goliath. Then talk about how David might have acted differently. 

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