Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 267

Picture Book: The Bear that Heard Crying

Author: Natalie Kinsey-Warnock and Helen Kinsey

Illustrator: Ted Rand

Summary: In 1793, 3 year old Sarah Whitcher wanders into the woods near her New Hampshire. Her family doesn’t realize she is missing until hours later. Readers know Sarah is lying near the path, snuggled in the fur of a bear. Neighbors and friends search for 3 days but find only her footprints and bear prints nearby. Finally a stranger frantically comes to the Whitcher home. He claims to have had 3 dreams in which little Sarah is in a particular place near the path lying beside a bear. When he is taken to that place, they find Sarah sleeping alone and surrounded by bear tracks. Sarah talks of the “big black dog” that stayed with her every night. Prayers of thanksgiving and songs are shared during a feast in which Sarah’s rescue is celebrated. Surprisingly, this story is based on personal accounts, including Sarah’s, that were found in archives by the authors.

Hanna’s Comments: I think children will really respond to this story. There are countless similar accounts in which wild animals help a human child in need. In my mind, these occurrences point to the possibilities of the kingdom of God in which species live in peace as foretold in Isaiah. They also call us to respect and care for our fellow creatures, particularly mammals that are so like us.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Cobblehill Books, 1993

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 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, Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: action, aliens/immigrants/refugees/strangers, America, animals, babies/children, body of Christ, caring/tending, community, danger, dependence/independence, the environment/nature, fear, found, gentleness/meekness, God’s nature, helping, heroes, lost, miracles, neighbors, parables/stories, presence, protecting/protection, rescue, saving/savior, searching

Scripture Connections: Peaceable Kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-9); parable of the lost sheep and lost coin (Luke 15:3-10)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children in your faith community when considering stories or parables in the Bible that involve searching, rescue, or cross-species of animals living in peace. You could also use this book as a way to talk with children about God’s presence with them in times of fear or confusion. Here, the bear would serve as a metaphor for God.  

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