Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 316


Picture Book: Pete’s a Pizza

Author & Illustrator: William Steig

Summary: Pete is disappointed that it’s raining because he was looking forward to playing baseball with his friends. His father sees his disappointment and decides to lovingly distract Pete by making him into a pizza. When Pete’s father picks him up and places him on a table, Pete remains straight as a board (or a pizza pan). Obviously, the two have played this pretend game before! Pete’s father pretends through the various stages of pizza-making with Pete playing the part of the silent dough. Pete is kneaded, and substitute ingredients (paper shreds for cheese) are placed on him. Pete’s mother plays along in silence. Pete’s ticklishness leads to a quick break from character, but mostly he remains still, silent, and pizza-like. After being placed in the oven (on the couch) and then hand-sliced into pieces, the pizza gets up and runs way. The pizza maker chases the pizza until it is captured and hugged.  Meanwhile, the sun has come out so the pizza goes outside to look for his friends.

Hanna’s Comments: I have loved this book since the first time I read it many years ago! While reading, I suggest you frequently ask the question, “Who’s a pizza?” and then wait for your audience’s loud response. After reading this story to young children, I urge you to do your own pretend play of the stages of pizza-making with a volunteer from your audience. You may find yourself pretending to make many pizzas as each listener wants to join in the fun. How does such a silly book offer a faith lesson? It’s really quite simple. Pete’s father is a metaphor for God. I believe God sees our disappointments and lovingly interjects distractions, often in the form of others who love us. If this idea is too abstract for your children, talk about how God is the source of the love Pete’s parents demonstrate here. Loving, godly distractions help us through pain or heartache so that healing can begin. The best of those distractions come in the form of God’s loving humor and eventually, the sun does come out, circumstances change, or healing has brought us to a new place. If you explain this idea well, children will get it, and their perspective on how God loves us will be expanded, which in my view, is always a good thing.    

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 1998

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

# of Pages: 34

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: video on Youtube.com

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: affection, blessings, brokenness, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, difficulties, disappointment, emotions/feelings, family, fathers, God’s nature, healing/health care, image of God, joy, love, parents/parental love, play, renewal/restoration

Scripture Connections: Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me! (Psalm 139:1); Behold, I am making all things new (Revelation 21:5); If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come.

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of young children when teaching them about God’s loving ways particularly when we are disappointed by life’s circumstances.