Monday, March 16, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 331

Picture Book: A Bucket of Blessings

Author: Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal

Illustrator: Jing Jing Tsong

Summary:  Due to drought, the village well and pond have gone dry so the animals are suffering as they look for water. Monkey remembers a story about how peacock dancing can bring on rain. He climbs the mountain to request this of Peacock, but Peacock needs some water to make it rain. Monkey continues searching for water. In a cave, he finds a hidden spring. He fills a bucket, but he doesn’t realize it leaks. As Monkey climbs to Peacock, he is greeted by animals who are excited about the water he has found. They do not tell him of the leak, but they enjoy the water trail he leaves behind. Upon reaching Peacock, Monkey is surprised and disappointed to see that the bucket is almost empty. “This leaky bucket is cursed!” he says. Peacock tells him to look behind him. Monkey sees that the water has transformed the path he has trod. Peacock believes that if Monkey can make flowers bloom with just a few drops, then a rain dance just might work. Monkey pours the drops of water on Peacock’s head. Peacock dances. Monkey hopes. Then clouds form and rain begins to fall. Peacock exclaims, “That leaky bucket of yours… it was a blessing to us all!”

Hanna’s Comments: I have heard the heart of this story used in a few sermons. It is a powerful message about the positive effects we can have even when we are broken and unaware of our influences. It is also a story of perseverance and hope that can be connected to many of our Holy Scriptures. In the back you’ll find an Afterward by Dr. Maya Angelou who states that in this book, “The reader is shown that it is a blessing to be a blessing.” In the Authors’ Note the symbolism of the peacock in India and Hindu mythology is explained. Below I connected this story to 2 Old Testament stories and the concept of baptism. I also thought of the story of Philip and the Ethiopian. One potentially powerful aspect of the Ethiopian story is that tradition holds (It may not be true but the story has been passed down over the centuries.) that the Ethiopian did take Christianity back to his home country where it flourished. It is fact that the Christian Church was established in Ethiopia relatively early, and the Ethiopian Christian Church’s official origin is grounded in this ancient story.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Beach Lane Books, 2014

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present 

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Fresh off the Press, Traditional Tale

PBT Topics this Book connects with: action, Asia, baptism/cleanliness/washing, blessings, challenges, dance/dancing, difficulties, drink/thirst, drought, flowers/leaves/trees, found, goodness, harvest, helping, hope,  journeys/migrations/pilgrimages/quests, labor/work, legacies, legends/myths, miracles, perseverance, rain, survival, transformation, water, weather

Scripture Connections: Manna given to the Israelites in the desert (Exodus 16); Moses strikes a rock for water (Exodus 17:6); Philip transforms the life of the Ethiopian with scripture and baptism (Acts 8:26-39); the concept of baptism

Idea(s) for Application: Read this story to a group of children in a lesson about the concept of being blessed to be a blessing or the transformation that water can bring. 

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