Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 322

Picture Book: Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Author & Illustrator: Dr. Seuss

Summary: This story begins with a group of turtles living near a pond. King Yertle the Turtle becomes quite unsatisfied as he sits on his stone perch. If he could sit higher, he would better see all that he ruled. So he commands that 9 of his turtles create a tower throne for him to sit on. After climbing atop them and seeing further, Yertle believes that he is king of all that he can see. When Mack, the turtle on the bottom, complains, Yertle shushes him and commands a tower of 100 turtles. Atop all those turtles, Yertle again claims to be the king of all he sees. He is King of the Air and King of the Trees among other things far and wide. Mack complains again, explaining that he and his fellow turtles are hurting and hungry. He warns that their shells might crack and asserts that turtles should have rights. Yertle shushes Mack again and then sees the moon rise. A thing that is higher than Yertle won’t do so he demands a tower of thousands of turtles. Mack gets angry and lets out a burp which knocks Yertle off his perch and into the mud. And there he stays, King only of the Mud. Seuss wraps up this fable in this way: “…the turtles are free. As turtles, and maybe all creatures, should be.”

Hanna’s Comments: The 3 stories in this collection are about greed, vanity, and pride, which are some of the 7 Deadly Sins listed in Proverbs 6:16-19. This story could be about greed or pride. Whenever you talk with children about vices, it is important to offer them details about how they should think and live instead. Don’t assume they know. For this book, you should spend some time on the concept of humility which is often confusing and crops up often in our Holy Scriptures. My concept of humility is not about being powerless, passive, or put upon. Instead it is about knowing my place where God is concerned. I’m not in charge, thankfully. And I’m no better than anyone else. Children will understand this. Then talk about what being humble looks like. Be specific. Describe circumstances that your children will likely experience and find examples in your faith community, perhaps those who are servant leaders. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Random House, 1950

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 96

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: Tablet, audio, There is a video on youtube.com. Random House has created a website full of Dr. Seuss activities and information. Here’s the link: www.seussville.com.

PBT Category: Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abuse/abuse of power, bullying/martyrs/persecution/oppression, civil rights, consequences/punishment, cruelty, dependence/interdependence, freedom, greed/selfishness, humility, injustice, power, pride, victims

Scripture Connections: When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2); everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 16:5); those who exalt themselves will be humbled… (Luke 14:11); God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson for children on pride or greed. Also, for adult or youth programming, consider checking out The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss by James W. Kemp.