Friday, April 22, 2016

PBT Blog Series: Theological Statements for Young Children #9

Illustration from Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
The ninth entry in this series of simple statements that you can say while reading the particular books below involves the heart of God’s love and Jesus’ mission.

There are many secular books for young children that involve a poor decision and end in forgiveness and mercy. While reading one of these books, simply say or paraphrase, “All bad choices can be forgiven. God/Jesus loves us no matter what we do.”
The first PBT offering is a great story about 3 young bears who live by the sea. When they accidentally break their mom’s prized blue shell, they naively venture off in a boat to find a replacement.
They encounter several sea vessels with interesting characters that seem to have some familiar literary or artistic significance. See how this crew of characters is in a boat named Melville? 
I assume this is a tip of the author/illustrator's hat to Moby Dick. I didn’t get all the allusions, but I sure enjoyed puzzling over them. This is not for your children to do however. Back to the story…
When told by a sea captain where to find such a shell, they venture off to “an island shaped like a lumpy hat.” Before they leave he explains, “if you look in the right place, I reckon you’ll find it.”
They pass a number of interesting islands and have some memorable experiences, eventually making it to their island destination. However, after looking high and low, no shell is found. 
They return to their boat, grumpy, disappointed, and missing home. Then the blaming begins. 
Meanwhile, a storm comes and tosses them so that they no longer care about blame. Instead they confess while clinging to each other for safety.  
The storm ceases, and they see their home island ahead. As they pull their boat onto shore, they find a beautiful blue shell. Home was the right place after all. 
Mama greets them at the door with a face and posture all little bears fear, but they confess and offer her the new shell. 
Forgiveness, hugs, kisses, supper (but no dessert) provide the happy ending you and your children will desire for these 3 little bears.
Besides the great story with simple but profound lessons, this is a really big book with many beautiful double page illustrations so it’s perfect for reading to a group.
Picture Book: Three Bears in a Boat
Author & Illustrator: David Soman
Original Publisher & Date: Dial, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet

My other PBT offering that connects to this statement is from the Curious George series. Keep in mind that many Curious George books would connect to this statement for he does have a way of making a mess of things, but loving forgiveness often ends George’s adventures.
In this Curious George episode, he is invited to a pizza party. Since George loves parties and pizza, he is especially excited. 
The man with the yellow hat reminds George to be on his best behavior before sending George on to the party.
Upon arrival, each child and George is given an apron, chef’s hat, and a piece of dough to make his own pizza. While the children leave the room to play Pin the Pepperoni on the Pizza, George stays in the kitchen since he’s curious about the pieces of dough. 
He gathers all the children’s dough together and begins making a giant pizza.
A mess ensues and George realizes he should have left the dough in the original small pieces so he gets scissors and cuts the dough into shapes.
Eventually the mom discovers the mess and threatens to send George home, but the children like the idea of making uniquely shaped dough and help him clean up so that he can stay. 
The children are inspired to make various shaped pizzas of their own and even the mom is thankful to George for the great-looking pizzas.
Curious George is a great character to help children connect with their life in God because George is delightfully innocent and troublesome, kind of like most children, and redemption, in some form, always follows.
Here at PBT I offered another Curious George book (Curious George Saves His Pennies) and tied it to faith concepts of stewardship and generosity. Find that post [here].
Picture Book: Curious George and the Pizza Party
Author: Cynthia Platt
Illustrated in the Style of H.A. Rey by Mary O’Keefe Young
Original Publisher & Date: HMH, 2010
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet, downloadable audio

Other PBT books that connect with links to posts:
When Sophie Gets Really, Really Angry - 6/3/14
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse - 6/23/14    
Beautiful Oops! - 8/12/14
I Love You, Stinky Face - 9/3/14
Rainbow Fish - 12/3/14
You are Not My Friend But I Miss You - 1/16/15
It's Okay to Make Mistakes - 1/4/16   
Too Tall Houses 3/22/16
Virgil and Owen series (2 bks) 4/5/16