Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 263

Picture Book: Telephone   

Author: Mac Barnett

Illustrator: Jen Corace

Summary: At one end of a telephone line, Mother Bird says to the bird beside her, “Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner.” This message is passed and distorted as each bird along the telephone line poorly interprets Mother Bird’s message. Each messenger, one of a series of various bird species, seems to be influenced by observed events and a vivid imagination.  Amazingly, a wise owl is able to decipher the message and accurately repeat it to Peter. The story ends happily with Peter flying home.

Hanna’s Comments: This is a comical book about poor communication. It seems to be inspired by the old Gossip game that I used to play as a child. Besides the humor and details of the illustrations, I like the simplicity of the plot, but there is a lot of potential for discussion here with children and adults. Too often humans don’t listen and communicate poorly. Does this happen in your faith community? That’s a rhetorical question of course! Two subjects that I think any faith community would be wise to consider are the importance of listening in love and discernment. Discernment is a complex concept but crucial for a faithful individual and a community who hopes to grow as they journey with God. Discerning the desires and needs of fellow members of your family of faith is important, but more important is our willingness to listen and consider God’s desires. This requires patience and wisdom, like the owl in this wise story.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Chronicle Books, 2014

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

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: bonds/connections, change, communication, community, dependence/interdependence, differences, diversity, God’s will, listening, mistakes, neighbors, neighborhood, noise/sounds/voice, prophesy/prophets, truth, variety, wisdom, word of God

Scripture Connections: Make your ear attentive to wisdom and incline your hearts to understanding (Proverbs 2:2); whoever is of God hears the words of God (John 8:47); let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak (James 1:19); let those who have ears hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Revelation 2:7)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider playing the game of Gossip with children after you read them this wonderfully silly book. However, adults would also benefit from a reading of this book, particularly as a part of a program or series on discernment, listening, or loving communication. 

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