Friday, July 15, 2016

A Tale of a Tail

Picture Book: A Beach Tail
Author: Karen Lynn Williams
Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Summary: Gregory and his father are at the beach. With a big stick, Gregory has drawn, Sandy, a lion. 
His dad suggests that Sandy needs a tail. Before sitting down, he warns Gregory not to go in the water. Gregory begins his lion’s tail and continues it parallel to the water’s edge, maneuvering through and around various objects. 
Gregory doesn’t go in the water and he doesn’t leave Sandy. He writes his name in the sand and then eventually comes to a jetty where he must stop. That’s when he looks back for his dad and realizes how far he has gone. Sandy's tail is really long! Gregory's dad isn’t visible, but he’s not worried. 
He literally traces his way back to Sandy’s body and his father, who comments on how very long Sandy’s tail is. 
Gregory is quick to point out that he didn’t get wet or go in the water. Dad and son both decide to do just that together.
Hanna’s Comments: This is a big, beautiful book. Notice the spelling of tail in the title. You might start your introduction to the book with a question about why that spelling might be used (don’t show the cover at first). This book easily leads to conversations about spiritual paths and being oriented toward the One who is Holy and home. 
Consider using this book in a lesson about Jesus having breakfast with his disciples on the beach. Some of those disciples had wandered away from Jesus during his trial and execution and were finding their way back to him. Be sure to point out Gregory’s desire to be obedient to his father as he wanders on his journey and remember Gregory’s pride that he was obedient.
Original Publisher & Date: Boyds Mills Press, 2010
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up 
Formats other than Book: Audible and Audio cd
Scripture Connections: If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15); breakfast on the beach (John 21:1-14); other scriptures about spiritual journeys or paths
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book in a lesson for children or adults when exploring the story of Jesus and his disciples having breakfast at the beach or when discussing obedience or spiritual journeys/paths.