Friday, October 7, 2016

Talk God, please!

Picture Book: Talk Oscar, Please!
Author: Karen Kaufman Orloff
Illustrator: Tim Bowers
Summary: This short comedy has a young boy imagining how fabulous life would be if his dog Oscar could talk. 
They would share so much, like school and soccer. 
Oscar could crack jokes or be on a quiz show. 
At the vet, Oscar would be able to explain any problems. 
At night Oscar could sing a lullaby. And when apart, they could chat on the phone. 
The last page has the boy realizing that he does sometimes feel like he knows what Oscar is saying, simply because Oscar’s his best friend.
Hanna’s Comments: Now and then, I read a book where the God-figure is so clear it makes me wonder if the author had an inkling of the book’s theological possibilities. This is one of those books. The boy’s desires for Oscar to talk are so similar to our human desires for God’s direction, problem-solving, quick comfort, our purposes, and even entertainment. The text here is poetry so practice reading for good effect from the rhythm and the clever rhymes. Enjoy the book first, then slowly prompt your audience (it could be adults) to consider how the boy’s desires parallel our desires for God. The last page is key in this discussion. Like so many PBT lessons, you may be very surprised where this conversation takes you.
Original Publisher & Date: Scholastic, 2010
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Delight in the Lord and the Lord will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4); if you call out for insight… then you will find knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:3-5); you will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children, teens, or adults and then talk about our human desires for God to respond in human ways and how we might better gain insight into what God desires for us.