Friday, February 24, 2017

PBT Techniques #4: Using the Whole Story

Picture Book: Beyond the Pond
Author & Illustrator: Joseph Kuefler
Summary: Ernest D. is bored and curious about the pond in his ordinary yard.
After realizing the pond is very deep or perhaps bottomless,
Ernest D. proclaims, “Oh, how exceptional!” a phrase he repeats for obvious reasons as the story unfolds exceptionally.
Ernest D. and his dog dive in. The dive begins with expected discoveries; then some surprises are within the darkest depths.  
Eventually, they see another shore – “the other side.” 
This fantastical place is “so tiny” 
and “so tall” and “every shape in between.” 
But it’s also “ghoulish and ghastly.”
And Ernest D. battles 
until “the moment between moonset and sunrise.”
Amazed that so much was hiding in an ordinary pond, Ernest D. and dog dive in again, through the dark,
back to his ordinary home which now doesn’t seem quite so small or ordinary.
Ernest D. now sees many extraordinary and exceptional places to explore at home. 
Hanna’s Comments: If you like Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, you’ll love this book! I see big themes of exploration, mystery, wonder, companionship, and of course praise for such an "exceptional" world - all theological ideas. 
Here’s the PBT Technique: Usually when I think about scripture connections to a featured book, I search for distinct Bible stories or a few inspirational verses. This is a traditional way to create content for spiritual experiences. Now and then a book’s story connects with the arc of a Bible character’s story, which is a different kind of connection, usually involving the character's personal attributes and life themes rather than plot details. This technique requires a little more study and a "big picture" orientation to scripture. 
Beyond the Pond connects generally with a large portion of Jacob's story in Genesis, particularly when he leaves home as a young man and returns many years later. If you don’t see those connections, let me know via a comment and I’ll gladly reply with more specifics for all to see. My Life Application Bible has a great profile of Jacob. You’ll easily find other summaries of Jacob’s life on-line.
Here are links to the other 3 posts in the PBT Techniques series. Let's call them secret treasures!
Sources for Inspiration: 9/19/16 
Choosing Portions: 10/17/16
Storytelling: 12/16/16 
Original Publisher & Date: Balzer & Bray, 2015
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Jacob’s journey to and from home (Genesis 27-33)
Idea(s) for Application: Connect the broad story of Jacob in Genesis after reading this book to a group of children, emphasizing the draw of mystery, the desire to explore, the constant presence of God (the dog companion), and the cycle of leaving and then returning. Additionally, you’ll find 3 quote graphics on Amazon that you might want to use in a lesson. These are simply posters with a sample of the art and a quote from the book that you can print or show on a screen.