Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 311

Picture Book: Cat and Bunny

Author & Illustrator: Mary Lundquist

Summary: Born on the same day, Cat & Bunny have always been together, just the two of them. They have even made up a game together: The Made-Up Game. When another character, Quail, wants to play too, Bunny is welcoming, but Cat is not. Others join the game. As Bunny’s attention is on the new friends, Cat wanders away, sad and hoping Bunny will come to find her. Instead a kitten approaches and wants to play. Cat begins playing a new Made-Up Game with the kitten. Then Giraffe asks to play. Cat, no longer pouting, says, “Of course.” Then the earlier group of children ask to join the new Made-Up Game. Cat welcomes them all, especially her friend Bunny.

Hanna’s Comments: It’s not clear here if Cat & Bunny are twins, neighbors, best friends, or all of the above. Also, what’s with the costumes?! Are these human children who each have a different animal costume or is this an original world this talented first time picture book author has created? It’s a mystery that I especially like. This will not be a problem for young children who are used to dealing with unknowns. You don’t need to answer all of their questions. Here you have the theme of sharing attention which is a big issue for many young children. Also, one of my favorite spiritual disciplines is offered here in simple terms: hospitality. This book encourages little ones to consider that being open to new friendships and shared fun doesn’t have to be threatening. In fact, community sharing can even enrich your experiences. I also like that Cat’s strategy of wandering away and pouting doesn’t get her the attention she so desires. That’s the psychologist in me. At first Cat doesn’t get her way, but what she does get is a new set of friends that don’t deplete her rich relationship with Bunny, and she discovers the delights of shared joy in community.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Balzer & Bray, 2015

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: Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, acceptance, adaptation/assimilation, belonging, change, choices/decisions, community, companionship, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, exclusion/inclusion, friends/friendship, hiding/isolation, hospitality, integration, loneliness, openness, outsiders, perspective, play, segregation, sharing, shyness, unity

Scripture Connections: They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share (1 Timothy 6:18); do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13:2); do not neglect to do good and to share what you have (Hebrews 13:6); above all, keep loving one another earnestly … show hospitality to one another without grumbling (1 Peter 4:8-9)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to young children when wanting to encourage the sharing of attention, toys, games, and/or relationships. This book would also be an excellent tool for beginning to teach the concept of empathy.

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