Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 361

Picture Book: A Day’s Work

Author: Eve Bunting

Illustrator: Ronald Himler

Summary: Francisco is a young boy whose grandfather has just arrived from Mexico and speaks no English. It’s Saturday, so grandson and grandfather go to be day laborers. When a man needs one laborer to do some gardening, Francisco convinces him to take them both and tells him that his grandfather is an experienced gardener which is not true. They are given brief instructions on-site to weed a large area, being sure to pull the roots. Then they are left alone. At the end of the day, the employer arrives and is furious that they have pulled the wrong plants. When the grandfather realizes that Francisco lied, he says they will return the next day for free to plant the correct plants. When offered partial payment, the grandfather refuses, saying they will take payment when the job is done. The employer is impressed by the grandfather’s work ethic and says he will hire him again and teach him gardening. Francisco is relieved that more money will be coming into their home.   

Hanna’s Comments: There are several aspects of this story that I think are particularly valuable. One is the context of day laboring which is a very real facet of many cultures that remains hidden to most children. Francisco’s love and pride in his grandfather and his desire to be a working man himself are poignant and realistic. Lastly, there is a struggle for basic needs that is an underlying theme here. Francisco is hoping that they will make enough to have meat for dinner and his grandfather’s presence will make a significant difference in his family’s income. You might want to also consider with your listeners the symbolic meaning of the concept of roots in this story and how it connects with religious values.

Original Publisher & Date of Publication: Clarion Books, 1994

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

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet, Audio

PBT Category: Pre 2K 

PBT Topics this Book connects with: affirmation, aliens/immigrants/refugees/strangers, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, babies/children, commitment, communication, consequences/punishment, dependence/interdependence, deception/dishonesty/lies, ethics, family, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, goodness, grace, grandparents, labor/work, language/literacy/reading, legacies, Mexico, North America, partners/teamwork, poverty, pride, sin, truth  

Scripture Connections: The story of Ruth and Naomi (the book of Ruth); commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3); train children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6); blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord…like a tree that sends out roots by the stream… (Jeremiah 17-7-8); you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend (Ephesians 3:17); walk in Christ, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith as you were taught (Colossians 2:6-7); do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9); work heartily, as for the Lord (Colossians 3:23)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children who are learning about integrity in poverty or hard labor, the commandment to not lie, and/or how values are passed on from generation to generation.