Friday, June 17, 2016

Tomie dePaola, Picture Book Prophet

Picture Book: Michael Bird-Boy 
Author & Illustrator: Tomie dePaola
Summary:  Michael wears a bird costume every day. This isn’t explained but illustrations show his enthusiasm for birds. A large black cloud appears which is making birds and flowers dirty and blocking Michael’s view of the moon. 
When Michael goes to investigate, he discovers the pollution coming from the Genuine Shoe-Fly Artificial Honey Syrup Factory. The Boss-Lady explains that the melting of the sugar is making the black smoke. 
Michael suggests that they make real honey with real bees and he is willing to provide the bees. Later, the Boss-lady calls Michael, complaining that the bees aren’t making honey. He explains that the bees need flowers and hives. Boss-lady plants lots of flowers and converts the smokestack into a beehive.  
Success comes so Michael gets a thank you letter and a visit from Boss Lady. She brings Michael some honey which he uses to make a cake. They have a party celebrating their success!
Hanna’s Comments:  Leave it to Tomie dePaola to come up with a great book on micro-economics, local agricultural problem-solving, and creation care that anticipates the passions of many who are looking for solutions to the complicated struggles of our Earth! 
Although this book may seem perfect for today’s environmental challenges, I’m holding the 40th anniversary edition! 
Religious communities are increasingly focusing their attention on God’s call for creation care and discernment over concerns about global climate change. This book is also a great example of creative problem-solving and social-justice work, both of which can be inspired by God.
Original Publisher & Date: Simon & Schuster, 1975
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1); God creates the lights in the skies (Genesis 1:14); the moon and stars which You have set in place… (Psalm 8:3)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children in a homeschool, private school, or church context when considering ideas about God-inspired problem-solving for issues of climate-change or other environmental concerns.