Friday, July 29, 2016

An Excellent Family

Picture Book: Excellent Ed
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Julia Sarcone-Roach 
Summary: The Ellis dog, Ed, is convinced that he doesn’t get to sit at the table, ride in the van, sit on the couch, or use the inside bathroom because he isn’t excellent at something, like all the other kids in the family. 
This hilarious book has Ed deciding that he is excellent at something just before one of the children comes home with an announcement that depletes Ed’s idea. For instance, Ed decides he is excellent at breaking stuff. 
Then Elaine announces that she has just broken the record for the most soccer goals in a season. Everyone cheers and Ed believes he is not the one in the family so excellent at breaking stuff. But when Ernie drops his sandwich, Ed is declared excellent at cleaning the floor. Perhaps this is why he isn’t allowed to sit at the table. 
When Emily and Elmer arrive, Ed is declared an excellent welcomer so he figures this is why he doesn’t get to ride in the van. When all the Ellis family pile on the couch, Ed is declared an excellent foot warmer. No wonder Ed isn’t allowed on the couch! 
The story ends with Ed still wondering why he can’t use the indoor bathroom.
Hanna’s Comments: Using words of affirmation is my top language of love so I adore this book! Excellent work, Stacy McAnulty and Julia Sarcone-Roach! Besides the clever way Ed’s desire to be excellent is presented here, this is a (dare I say?) excellent family to share with your children. They get along and affirm each other. They spend time together and are exploring their giftedness. 
Any time you can offer that view of family functioning to children is great. At the heart of this book is a dog who wants to please those who love him most and a family whose love is not conditional. 
Isn’t that the heart of being a child of God, wanting to do what pleases God and do it excellently? Help your children (in your family, faith family, or classroom) see that this kind of excellence is a worthy goal. Help them also remember that being a child of God is often times enough.
Original Publisher & Date: Knopf, 2016 
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: For in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith (Gal. 3:26); It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more… so that you may approve what is excellent (Phil. 1:9-10); if there is any excellence… think about these things (Phil. 4:8b)
Idea(s) for Application: Read Excellent Ed to a group of children and help them explore the way God is pleased with us when we exhibit excellence and how important it is to show our love by affirming excellence in each other.