Thursday, September 15, 2016

God as Night Gardener

Picture Book: The Night Gardener
Authors & Illustrators: The Fan Brothers
Summary: Stunning illustrations support this early 20th century story of a mysterious topiary sculptor. 
We view the work of the Night Gardener through the eyes of William, an orphan, and his neighbors. William is not only amazed by the topiaries; he is obsessed by them. William notices how the sculptures are positively affecting his community. 
People gather around them, enjoy one another, and play, even after dark. After several revelations from the Night Gardener, William sees a man walking at night who seems a likely candidate. 
William follows and is spotted but then encouraged to help. The boy and old man work throughout the night. 
When William wakes at a tree trunk, he finds a gift. 
Sadly, no more of the Night Gardener’s sculptures transpire, but his influence has not ended.
Fall comes and the topiaries are transformed in a fascinating way. Meanwhile, William is learning the art himself so that he can carry on the legacy of the Night Gardener.
Hanna’s Comments: When I finished A Picture Book a Day for a Year in April of 2015, I offered a series of posts about 5 PBT questions to ask about any secular picture book to see if there is potential for ministry. That series [begins here] with the first question being, Where is God in the book? a question easily answered in The Night Gardener
God is the Night Gardener who delights others with his creations and inspires a creative spirit and talent in William. There is another book by this name, but it is a ghost story for older children so select wisely.
Original Publisher & Date: Simon & Schuster, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:6); walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called (Ephesians 4:1)
Idea(s) for Application: Read The Night Gardener to a group of tweens or teens who are exploring how God inspires their gifts and vocations to transform the world.