Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 103


Picture Book: Song and Dance Man

Author: Karen Ackerman

Illustrator: Stephen Gammell

Summary: Grandpa is a former Vaudeville showman. Whenever his grandchildren visit, he takes them up to the attic and pulls out treasured items such as his tap shoes, bowler hat, gold-tipped cane, and trick scarf so that the ritual entertainment can commence. Grandpa transforms into a song and dance man! His grandchildren are lovingly captivated as he dances, sings, does magic, and tells jokes.

Hanna’s Comments: I’m enthusiastic about this book because of the grandchildren’s obvious love for their grandfather. He has ritualized his legacy to them so that they not only honor it, but revel in it. His devoted investment in their understanding of his story and talents has resulted in the grandchildren’s supreme pride and joy in their grandfather. In a sense, he lovingly offers his life’s work as a gift to them each time they visit.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Dragonfly Books, 1989

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audio CD, Amateur videos on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Award Winner (Caldecott Medal), Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, aging, ancestors/patriarch & matriarchs, art, awe, babies/children, beauty, call/calling/vocation, choir/music/singing/songs, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, dance/dancing, family, gifts/giftedness/talents, gladness/happiness, grace, grandparents, Holy Spirit, identity/names, individuality/uniqueness, joy, labor/work, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, passion, presence, purpose, renewal/restoration, satisfaction, transformation

Scripture Connections: Miriam’s dancing (Exodus 15:20); May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace (Romans 15:13)    

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a perfect book to read to children on Grandparent’s Day. In a religious setting, tie in the gifts received from your matriarchs & patriarchs in scripture or your religious community.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 102

Picture Book: Tell Me, Tree: All about Trees for Kids

Author & Illustrator: Gail Gibbons

Summary: Like so many of this author’s books, Tell Me, Tree is filled with fun facts and illustrated with beautifully simple drawings, some quite instructive. It includes a guide to various trees, their anatomy, the science of photosynthesis, uses for trees, and how to make a tree identification book.

Hanna’s Comments: Gail Gibbons has more than 100 well-designed factual books for children. Many are likely in your local library. Keep her in mind whenever you want more information on a particular subject in natural history and science. Her information will probably be in a more accessible form than content you might find on the internet. She has great books on everything from apples to zoos that cover scientific concepts, cultural events, and even literary phenomena. My husband leads a design team at our church for our summer arts camp. He writes the Bible Story experiences based on a theme which is sometimes a natural history concept. One of Gibbon’s books on that concept would be a great place to start planning. When you need to fill in the gaps of a lesson or program for children, a Gibbons' book is a great place to start.


Here is a list of just a few of the great books available to you about trees. Some are a story and some are factual. You’ll find summaries on Amazon.com.
If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay
Someday a Tree by Ronald Himler                
The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward                                
Who Will Plant a Tree by Jerry Pallotta               
As an Oak Tree Grows by G. Brian Karas               
The Whistling Tree by Audrey Penn                 
The Tree by Dana Lyons
Sequoia by Tony Johnston

Publisher & Date of Publication: Little, Brown, & Company, 2002

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: Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, beauty, blessings, care of creation, creation, diversity, Earth/world, the environment/nature, fruit/fruit of the Spirit, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, light/morning, moon/space/stars/sun, protecting/protection, steadfastness, strength/strength in God, variety, water

Scripture Connections: He is like a tree planted by water (Psalm 1:3, Jeremiah 17:8); every healthy tree bears good fruit (Matthew 7:17); being rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17)


Idea(s) for Application: Use this book when designing learning stations for children about the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 101


Picture Book: Ten Things I Love about You

Author & Illustrator: Daniel Kirk

Summary: While Pig is at his desk thinking, Rabbit comes to the door and shows Pig what Rabbit is busy doing: making a list of the ten things Rabbit loves about Pig. Though Pig is flattered, he seems anxious to get back to what he was doing, but Rabbit is desperately stuck at item #2. Each time Pig encourages Rabbit to work on the list independently, Pig thinks of another one of Pig’s attributes. Pig leaves a couple of times, but he quickly returns for more help. Their funny banter continues, but Pig’s patience wears thin. Once Rabbit’s list is almost complete, Pig accidentally reveals that he was trying to finish a list of things he loves about Rabbit.  The story ends with them declaring their friendship in the light of this delightful coincidence. The author cleverly includes the 2 complete lists at the back of the book. In 2014 Daniel Kirk wrote another book featuring this duo:Ten Thank-You Letters.  

Hanna’s Comments: This is such a simple, clever, and joyful celebration of friendship. It’s all about compliments and affirmations which was exactly what I needed for a recent lesson for 1st graders on the diverse gifts in the Body of Christ. I redesigned the lesson and the children loved this book. If you are interested in the lesson, I’ll send it to you for a small price.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2013

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, affection, affirmation, belonging, body of Christ, bonds/connections, companionship, differences, encouragement, friends/friendship, gifts/giftedness/talents, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, hospitality, identity/names, individuality/uniqueness, joy, judgment/judges/judging, love, patience, perspective, tolerance

Scripture Connections: Love one another with affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10); Diverse gifts in the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12)

Idea(s) for Application: This would also be a great book for private schools to use preceding holidays in which relatives are honored such as Grandparent’s Day. Have the children make a list of things they love about….

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 100


Picture Book: The Memory String

Author: Eve Bunting

Illustrator: Ted Rand

Summary: Laura is struggling to accept her new stepmother, Jane. Laura often clutches her memory string, a string of heirloom buttons from clothing belonging to herself and important members of her family, the most important being her dead mother. As Laura forces her cat to hear explanations of all the buttons, the cat flees and breaks the string. Buttons scatter in the grass. All 3 family members search, but 1 button is still missing at dark. Later Laura overhears a conversation in which her dad wants to replace the missing button, but Jane says, “It’s like a mother. No substitute allowed.” Jane convinces Dad to help her search in the dark. She finds the button but refuses to be the one to return it, believing Laura won’t accept it from her. Instead she leaves the button on the porch for Laura to find. Laura overhears all of this so the next morning she asks Jane to help her re-string the buttons, a small step toward accepting Jane.

Hanna’s Comments: I discovered this book soon after learning how to make and use prayer beads from my friend Kristen Vincent, author of A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner's Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads. This picture book reminded me of the comfort prayer beads can offer and the way in which some prayer beads are created with special care for personal symbolism and memory. If this interests you, I highly recommend Kristen's book and blog at www.abeadnaprayer.wordpress.com. If you decide to focus on the plot’s family dynamics, don’t limit this story to audiences struggling with issues of death or remarriage. All significant changes in families are difficult. Some members adapt more slowly than others. Discovering rituals such as praying with beads can be helpful for coping and improving communication.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Clarion, 2000

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Amateur video on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, adaptation/assimilation, 
ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, artifacts, brokenness, collections, comfort, death/loss/grief, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, difficulties, emotions/feelings, found, God’s nature, grace, heritage, identity/names, loneliness, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, milestones, mothers, openness, outsiders, parables/stories, parents/parental love, patience, perspective, wisdom 

Scripture Connections: I have stored up your word in my heart (Psalm 119:11); The memory of the righteous is a blessing (Proverbs 10:7)

Idea(s) for Application: Even young children can learn to make and use prayer beads. Use this picture book as an introduction to the power of that ritualized kind of prayer.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 99

Note: The photograph above is the Braille version of this book.

Picture Book: The Empty Pot

Author & Illustrator: Demi

Summary: Ping is a young boy who, like many in China at the time of this traditional tale, has a passion for growing flowers. What he grows bursts into bloom. When the Emperor needs a successor, he decides to “let the flowers choose.” The Emperor orders all the young children to come to his palace to receive flower seeds. Whoever shows the Emperor “their best in a year’s time” will succeed him. Ping receives the flower seeds but has no success; nothing grows. When the year ends, Ping fearfully brings an empty pot to the Emperor. The other children bring brilliant blooms. When the Emperor asks for Ping’s explanation, Ping describes the different methods he tried for growing the seeds, and then Ping says “Nothing grew. It was the best I could do.” The Emperor smiles and proclaims that Ping will be his successor. All the seeds had been cooked, making them impossible to grow. Only Ping has been honest and courageous.

Hanna’s Comments: Like so many traditional tales, this has a clever twist and an honorable hero. Consider using this book when talking about the importance of honesty or courage. Emphasize that the beauty in this story is not only in the flowers but also in the characters of Ping and the Emperor. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Square Fish, 1990

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Video on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Traditional

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, anxiety/worry, Asia, authenticity, babies/children, bravery/courage, challenges, choices/decisions, chosen, competition, confession, consequences/punishment, disappointment, deception/dishonesty/lies/lying, eggs/seeds, ethics, flowers/leaves/trees, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, gifts/giftedness/talents, goodness, honesty, humility, labor/work, the Law/rules/10 commandments, legends/myths, resisting evil, respect, righteousness, risking, temptations, truth

Scripture Connections: The story of Joseph interpreting dreams for Pharaoh (Genesis 41); Be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9); For we aim at what is honorable (2 Corinthians 8:21)

Idea(s) for Application: This book would work well with a lesson on Joseph when he chooses to tell the Pharaoh dire dream interpretations. This telling took a great deal of courage and led to Joseph becoming an Egyptian leader who saves many during the terrible famine his dreams predicted.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 98

Dynamic Duo: Book 2


Picture Book: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon

Author: Patty Lovell

Illustrator: David Catrow

Summary: In Molly Lou Melon’s continuing story, we get to see how her grandmother’s childhood of no store-bought toys greatly influences Molly Lou’s play. Her supreme confidence was the subject of PBT Dynamic Duo #1 offered yesterday. This book emphasizes Molly Lou’s extraordinary creativity. Using whatever is at hand and a huge imagination, she transforms all her play environments. Even when her new neighbor, Gertie, invites Molly Lou to play with store-bought toys or watch TV, Molly Lou chooses her homemade, imaginative ways to play instead.

Hanna’s Comments: This is a timely book for adults in homes, churches, and schools who are concerned about the passive quality of children’s play. If your desire is to help your children tap into their God-given imaginations and talents, then little Molly Lou may be your new hero and hopefully inspiration for your kids.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Putnam, 2012

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Amateur videos on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, abundance/bounty, acceptance, adaptation/assimilation, art, authenticity, beauty, confidence, conformity, consumerism/consumption/riches, creation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, differences, discovery/invention, encouragement, the environment/nature, flowers/leaves/trees, freedom, gifts/giftedness/talents, gladness/happiness, grandparents, image of God, individuality/uniqueness, leadership/servant leadership, neighbors, play, possessions, satisfaction, transformation, wonder

Scripture Connections: Do not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2); For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book in a lesson for children on the idea of being made in God’s image, joyfully creative and productive.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 97

Dynamic Duo: Book 1


Picture Book: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

Author: Patty Lovell

Illustrator: David Catrow

Summary: Molly Lou Melon is tiny, buck-toothed, and somewhat clumsy, but her grandmother’s encouragements make all the difference for her. This girl knows how to be her incredible self! Even the students in her new school are enamored with her, except for Ronald Durkin. Ronald tries to bully little Molly, but that gets him nowhere. Soon he is won over by Molly’s charm, gumption, and amazing confidence.

Hanna’s Comments: Her grandmother’s unconditional love has transformed Molly Lou's liabilities and idiosyncrasies into superb talents and strengths. Although her abilities may lean toward the miraculous, Molly Lou is certainly a role model for any child who has self-doubts. The illustrations in this picture book and its sequel are hilarious. The sequel is the 2nd PBT Dynamic Duo entry and will be featured in tomorrow’s post.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Putnam, 2002

Age & Grade Appropriateness:  4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Amateur videos on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, acceptance, authenticity, belonging, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, confidence, conformity, differences, encouragement, gifts/giftedness/talents, gladness/happiness, grandparents, image of God, individuality/uniqueness, leadership/servant leadership, new school, play, risking, self-acceptance/self-image/self-esteem

Scripture Connections: Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book before exploring the story of Zacchaeus with children.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 96


Picture Book: I Wanted to Know All about God

Author: Virginia L. Kroll

Illustrator: Debra Reid Jenkins

Summary: This picture book is designed to encourage children to be attentive to how God’s creation might inform them about God's nature. Various questions and environmental contexts are offered. The sentences have a somewhat repeated pattern: I wanted to know if God…, then I …. Here are two examples: “I wanted to know if God likes music, then I heard a pond on a summer night." "I wanted to know what colors God likes. Then I met several children of other races.”

Hanna’s Comments: Two strengths of this book are the diversity of the children and experiences depicted in the illustrations. A book like this is to be integrated with conversation from the children regarding their questions as to what God is like and how their experiences might give hints to God’s nature. Don’t be afraid to encourage conversation about each double page spread.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Eerdmans, 1994

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: God Book

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: attentiveness/observation/seeing,  awe, babies/children, beauty, creation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, diversity, Earth/world, the environment/nature, God’s nature, God’s presence, image of God, listening, openness, prayer, questions/questioning, quiet/silence, reverence, truth, wonder

Scripture Connections: Elijah in the cave encountering God (1 Kings 19); The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 23); Jesus’ "I am..." statements (John 6-15)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book before going on a nature walk with children. On the walk, invite them to reflect on how God's creation informs them of God’s nature.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 95


Picture Book: Washing the Willow Loon

Author: Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Illustrator: Nancy Carpenter

Summary: This is a beautiful story about one willow loon who becomes covered in oil from an oil spill. A driver notices the loon in the shallows but thinks, “What’s one bird? It’s not my worry,” and drives past. A house painter tries to net her, but she swims away. Eventually a baker gently nets her and takes her to a place where a series of trained workers, including a barber, a teen, an old woman, and an artist, carefully clean her. Ultimately she is released into the wild. Throughout the book, there is a refrain from the volunteers, “I have work to do.” The detailed regimens of these important tasks are described with reverence for the birds and the work. 

Hanna’s Comments: I especially like the contrast the author draws between the rationalizing driver who passes by the loon and the volunteers who have obviously invested time and training to learn how to deal with this unusual need. The focus on the one loon gives this story a great deal of emotional heft. Also, the many steps of the rehabilitation process for the bird are enlightening.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Simon & Schuster, 1995

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K 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: action, animals, attentiveness/observation/seeing, baptism/washing, beach/ocean/sea/shore, body of Christ, brokenness, caring/tending, care of creation, dependence/interdependence, disaster, the environment/nature, fear, found, fruit/fruit of the Spirit, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gentleness/meekness, gift/giftedness/talents, God’s care/providence, God’s nature, God’s will, goodness, helping, healing/healthcare, heroes, hiding/isolation/walls, holiness, humanity, image of God, intercession, kindness, labor/work, nurturing, outreach, partners/teamwork, pollution, power, prayer, problems/problem-solving, renewal/restoration, rescue, safe place/sanctuary, searching, servant hood/service/serving, sin, survival, transformation, trust/trustworthiness, underdogs, unity, victims, water, wisdom, works vs. faith/grace

Scripture Connections: the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37); washing Jesus’ feet (John 12:1-8) or head (Matthew 26:6-13)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this in a lesson or sermon on healing or transformation.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 94


Picture Book: Banjo Granny

Author: Sarah Martin Busse and Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Illustrator: Barry Root

Summary: This picture book is a delightful tall tale. A banjo-playing granny is determined to see her grandbaby, Owen. She has heard he especially wiggles to bluegrass music. Even rivers, mountains, and deserts won’t deter her to play bluegrass for him in person. He hears from the birds that she’s coming so he patiently awaits her while she uses her magical music to overcome the many obstacles and make her way to her youngest fan.  

Hanna’s Comments: This book is a hoot! All children should have a granny who loves them so. See the music and lyrics to Owen’s Song in the front of the book, and in the back find the author’s note about the beginnings of bluegrass music.

Publisher & Date of Publication: HMH, 2006

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, action, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, art, babies/children, belonging, bonds/connections, call/calling/vocation, challenges, choir/music/singing/songs, commitment, desert, exile/separation, family, gifts/giftedness/talents, grandparents, heroes, journeys/pilgrimages/migration/quests, joy, land/mountains, love, miracles, mission, obstacles, passion, perseverance, presence, problems/problems solving, purpose, sharing, steadfastness, travel, waiting, water, wilderness

Scripture Connections: the Israelites escape Egypt through sea, desert, & mountains (Book of Exodus); nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book in a homeschool/religious school literature lesson on tall tales. Then talk about your religious beliefs regarding the power of love.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 93


Picture Book: Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Author: Jonah Winter

Illustrator: Raul Colon

Summary: Baseball hero, Roberto Clemente, was a Puerto Rican boy who made it to the Major Leagues despite the poverty of his childhood and the racism he encountered in professional baseball. Known for his fast feet, skilled moves, and 3000 hits, he was nicknamed “The Great One.” Along with his baseball success, he was notorious for his charitable work, especially work which benefited his home island. Sadly, in 1972 Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash at the height of his baseball career while on a humanitarian flight to Central America to help victims of an earthquake. The Great One was the first Latino to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hanna’s Comments: Modern children need to hear about sports heroes like Roberto Clemente, who worked tirelessly and gave much because of his love for baseball and fellow human beings. His legacy remains and is a great tool for inspiring future generations to be generous with their time, money, and talents. Be sure to read the Author’s Note in the back.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Atheneum, 2005

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Biography

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, acceptance, America, awe, body of Christ, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, Central America, commitment, confidence, death/loss/grief, difficulties, diversity, dreams/aspiration, equality/inequality, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, gifts/giftedness/talents, growing up/growth, heroes, home, injustice, integration, journeys/pilgrimages/migration/quests, judgment/judges/judging, justice, obstacles, outreach, outsiders, passion, perseverance, play, poverty, prejudice, race relations/racism, sacrifice, sports/sports stars, steadfastness, time/timing/over time, tragedy 

Scripture Connections: David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17); the strong must bear the failings of the weak… building up our neighbors (Romans 15:1-2)

Idea(s) for Application: This book could be part of a series of lessons on heroes of the modern era and their connections with your religious heroes.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 92


Picture Book: Glenna Seeds

Author: Nancy Edwards

Illustrator: Sarah K. Hoctor

Summary: Glenna and Amy are walking home carrying packs of seeds given to them on the occasion of garden day at school. Seeing a neighbor’s empty flower pot, Glenna spontaneously leaves a pack of seeds. Glenna’s tiny act of kindness, multiplies across several neighbors as they make wrong assumptions about who gave their anonymous gifts and reciprocate with their own gifts.  

Hanna’s Comments: This inspiring book illustrates how one small gesture of kindness can expand into positive and transformative forces. If you are able to purchase a new book, a pack of seeds may be included. If this book is too complicated for your children, consider reading instead One Good Deed by Terri Fields (illustrator Deborah Melmon). In the back, this book explains the Jewish commandment to do a Mitzvah. The word Mitzvah literally means “commandment” but the word has come to mean doing a good deed.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Child Welfare League of America, 2001

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 24

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Rare but Worth the Search

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, action, blessings, body of Christ, bonds/connections, communication, community, eggs/seeds, feasting/food/hunger/nutrition, flowers/leaves/trees, friends/friendship, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, generosity/giving/offering/stewardship, goodness, gratitude/thankfulness/thanksgiving, harvest, home, image of God, kindness, neighbors, neighborhood, nurturing, pleasing God/the Shema, possessions, power, relationships, righteousness, sanctification, secrets, sharing, treasure, variety

Scripture Connections: First fruits (Nehemiah 10:35, Proverbs 3:9-10); seed parables (Matthew 13)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to children or youth before they do a mission project. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 91


Picture Book: A House for Hermit Crab

Author & Illustrator: Eric Carle

Summary: Hermit Crab must abandon his shell for he’s grown too big for it. Feeling vulnerable, he quickly finds a nice big shell, but it looks plain. As he meets animals with the potential to improve his home, he invites them to move in. Just when his shell seems to have all the animal amenities it needs, he has grown out of it. He is particularly regretful because his guests have become like family. As a smaller crab looking for a new shell passes by, Hermit Crab invites the smaller crab to have his home, “but you must promise to be good to my friends.” Not so afraid this time, Hermit Crab finds an even bigger shell and is excited about the decorative friends he might invite to live with him.  

Hanna’s Comments: This is a story about the anxiety of change and how making community eases that process. I’ve done some reading on resilience in children. Hermit Crab demonstrates many resilient qualities including positive, creative and hospitable inclinations. In addition to a wonderful story, Carle offers the months of the year as a plot device. The last page has a listing of facts about the sea creatures in the story.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Simon and Schuster, 1987

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio Cassette, Amateur videos are on Youtube; one is Claymation.

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, acceptance, adaptation/assimilation, animals, armor, art, attentiveness/observation/seeing, awe, beauty,  belonging, body of Christ, bonds/connections, chosen, collections, comfort, companionship, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, dependence/interdependence, the environment/nature, evangelism, exploration, family, found, friends/friendship, gifts/giftedness/talents, goodness, gospel/good news, growing up/growth, helping, home, hospitality, immigration, individuality/uniqueness, insecurity, integration, journeys/pilgrimages/migration/quests, kindness, kingdom of God/reign of God, openness, partners/teamwork, perseverance, possessions, presence, problems/problem solving, risking, safety, safe place/sanctuary, searching, security, sharing, survival, time/timing/over time, transformation, unity, variety, wilderness

Scripture Connections: Old Testament scriptures about God being like a rock; build your house on rock (Matthew 7:24-27); put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a great book to read to a group of children in your religious community when they have just moved to a new classroom or building. Be sure to focus on how faith and trust in God and others in your community inform your perspective of change.