Friday, February 10, 2017

The Perseverance of Love

Picture Book: Love Matters Most
Author: Mij Kelly
Illustrator: Gerry Turley
Summary: After staring straight at the reader, 
an adult polar bear leaves her cave and begins a journey. 
A small yellow bird seems to guide her page after page. 
We are told the polar bear is looking for something. A storm doesn't deter her searching. Why? The journey must be long because the weather changes.
Stunning beauty doesn’t stop her. “The forest’s true magic dancing in light” is bypassed.
She's not searching for sustenance in berries 
or fish. 
Is she delighting in the snowflakes? 
The stars? 
No, we are told. She’s following prints. At times she seems to look at the reader, but what is her message? Is she asking for help?
What’s her destination? Finally, we are told she is looking for someone. 
Now we can guess. We know how determined polar bear moms can be. In another cave, she finds her babe. 
When they are reunited, the author reminds us that the world’s many treasures do not compare to that which matters most, love.
Hanna’s Comments: This rhyming story of mystery and beauty, loss and searching can be taken at face value to remind children in your family of faith, particularly during the Valentine’s Day season, that all great love comes from God and the love we have for our family is strongest. But like so many PBT books, there is enough under the surface for a deeper discussion with children, and even teens or adults. Think of Jesus’ 3 great lost parables found together Luke (The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Lost (Prodigal) Son
Besides the love of a mother for her child, this is a story of longing, focus, courage, guide, determination, and perseverance. Do these themes remind you of a character in scripture or verse in scripture? I also see the incredible beauty in this picture book as representative of God’s inspiration that can be our “North Star” (or Northern Lights) in a world that might not understand our search. Doesn’t beauty inspire you to keep going? And there’s the little yellow bird. Help your audience find the bird when on a page. 
Encourage your audience to consider the bird's purpose and meaning. Who are your guides? I see this polar bear as a metaphor for God, determined to find us, loving us unconditionally. If this book isn’t quite right for your purposes, remember to check out the PBT search engine for dozens of other great books about “love,” that which is “lost,” or “journeys.”
Original Publisher & Date: Little, Brown, & Co., 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Fear not, for I am with you… (Isaiah 41:10); The 3 Lost Parables (Luke 15); Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to any age group and consider the power of love as God’s greatest gift and that which matters most.