Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 304

Picture Book: Mr. George Baker

Author: Amy Hest

Illustrator: Jon J. Muth

Summary: From the point of view of a young child who is learning to read, this beautiful story draws connections between the young narrator and his 100 year old neighbor. Both characters greet the day with rituals on George’s porch as they wait for the school bus to take them to school, where both of them are learning to read and agree, “reading is hard”. The narrator is especially proud that Mr. George Baker always sits with him on the bus. Mr. George Baker is a famous drummer whose fingers still go tappidy on this knees, but he never learned to read before now. “That must be corrected,” says George. This intergenerational relationship is both compelling and heartwarming.

Hanna’s Comments: It is always beneficial for children to hear that learning is a life-long pursuit. This books offers the added benefit of having a character who has regrets about his lack of education and is motivated to overcome his learning deficits, despite his age. Perseverance despite many years and a difficult task, seems to be a theme here. No doubt George is an inspiration to the young narrator. The morning rituals encourage and even stronger relationship. As I read this book, I thought of Abraham and Sarah in the Hebrew Scriptures who were open to new learning and God’s desires for them. Despite their age, God had plans for Abraham and Sarah, as I suspect God would have for any one like Mr. George Baker who never gives up on their inclination to learn and grow intellectually and spiritually, even when it’s hard.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Candlewick Press, 2004

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: Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, affection, aging, ancestors/patriarchs/matriarchs, aspirations/dreams, bonds/connections, change, commitment, community, differences, difficulties, education/learning/school, encouragement, friends/friendship, gentleness/meekness, gifts/talents, goodness, grace, hope, kindness, neighbors, perseverance, race relations/racism, relationships, transformation, unity

Scripture Connections: The story of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 12-23)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this picture book to a group of children who are learning about the perseverance, even at their old ages, of Abraham and Sarah. OR 
Read this story when talking to children about the importance of building relationships and finding connections across generations in their families and their community of faith.

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