Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 224

Picture Book: Basket Moon

Author: Mary Lyn Ray

Illustrator: Barbara Cooney

Summary: This is a beautiful picture book about the tradition of basket-making in the highlands of upstate New York. It is from the point of view of a young son who longs to walk into Hudson, the closest town, with his father to sell baskets and purchase supplies. This happens every full moon, a “basket moon” so they call it. Meanwhile, the son watches the craft of basket-making that is particular to this part of the world. Eventually he is allowed to go into town with his father, each carrying a long pole across their back full of hanging baskets of all sizes. The son is captivated by the sights and sounds of Hudson, but he overhears a group of adult men, taunting his father, calling him a “bushwhacker”. Once home, he becomes ashamed of his father’s work until a basket-maker friend helps him understand the privilege and artistry in basket-making. He begins to practice the skills and eventually acknowledges that the trees surrounding his home are making the material for baskets he will one day create.

Hanna’s Comments: Skilled handwork of all kinds is becoming a rare commodity in modernity. This is a great loss of beauty and heritage for all of us. The Author’s Note explains that the last living basket-maker of Taconic/Taghkanic (Bushwhacker) baskets died in 1996. These baskets are now found in museums and prized in the homes of collectors. Our faith communities are one place where we can explore and share our God-given gifts and artistic endeavors, knowing that tapping into our own creativity is a fine and meaningful way to give tribute to our Creator God.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: Little Brown, 1999

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: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, acceptance, action, adaptation/assimilation, affirmation, America, art, artifacts, attentiveness/observation/seeing, authenticity, beauty, belonging, bonds/connections, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, call/calling/vocation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, culture, differences, education/learning, family, fathers, gifts/talents, God’s will, heritage, hiding/isolation, image of God, journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, labor/work, listening, moon/space/stars/sun, North America, purpose, self-discovery

Scripture Connections: So God created humankind in God’s own image (Genesis 1:27); God has filled them with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs (Exodus 35:31-32); Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30); every good and perfect gift is from above (James 1:17); as each has received a gift, use it to serve one another (1 Peter 4:10)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of adults who are engaged in spiritually-based artistic endeavors, such as an Artist Way group (seeThe Artist Way by Julia Cameron), a knitting ministry, or a group of carpenters who design and make ramps for elderly or handicapped individuals. 

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