Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 248

Picture Book: May I Bring a Friend

Author: Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

Illustrator: Beni Montresor

Summary: A small boy receives an invitation from the king and queen to come to their castle for Sunday tea. He asks, “May I bring a friend?” Their reply: “My dear, my dear, any friend of our friend is welcome here.” So the boy brings a giraffe. This pattern repeats each day of the week, and each time the boy brings a more outrageous animal. The king and queen are always welcoming and adapt to the strange situation and guests. On Saturday, the boy invites the king and queen to have tea with his friends so all go to the city zoo for tea.

Hanna’s Comments: Do practice reading this silly tale in verse aloud several times before reading it to your children. It has a difficult and unusual rhyme and rhythm. This picture book offers an opportunity to talk about the true nature of hospitality, why it is a spiritual practice, how the king and queen might represent God’s true nature, and funny stories about unusual guests and/or surprised hosts.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Atheneum Books, 1964

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

# of Pages: 48

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio download

PBT Category: Award Winner (Caldecott), Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, aliens/immigrants/refugees/strangers, chaos/disorder, differences, diversity, evangelism, exclusion/inclusion, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, gladness/happiness, God’s nature, God’s will, hospitality, image of God, individuality/uniqueness, integration, reign of God/kingdom of God, openness, outreach, outsiders, participation, play, pleasing God/the Shema, at table, tolerance, variety

Scripture Connections: You shall treat the stranger as the native among you and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:34); When did we see you a stranger and welcome you… Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my family, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:35-40)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of young children when talking to them about hospitality at home or at your faith community’s meeting place.  

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