Monday, April 3, 2017

God's Wonderfulness Leads to Worship

Picture Book: Baby Wren and the Great Gift
Author: Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrator: Jen Corace 
Summary: This lovely book begins as Baby Wren steps out of the crevice that holds her nest. 
“The world was filled with such wonderfulness.” Monarch butterflies, milkweed, and a glittering river are all there for Baby Wren to behold. 
She sees a kingfisher diving for a meal and wonders why she’s not a kingfisher. 
Soon she is distracted by a pair of ring-tailed cats. They invite her to do cartwheels with them, but with no ring-tail, this is impossible. “Why aren’t I a ring-tailed cat?” she wonders. 
Sunfish splash nearby. After thinking “How wonderful!” She must turn down their invitation to swim and wonders why she isn’t a sunfish. 
Next she is invited to soar with eagles and then asks, “What can I do that’s wonderful?” “Just then, “the sun painted the whole canyon pink.” 
Baby Wren is compelled to sit still.
The beauty of nature pushes on her throat until “with all her tiny might,” 
Baby Wren sings a “bright carol” that is a song of her purpose and gratitude. Here it is in part and then in total so you can read her meaning:
Afterwards, her singing is affirmed by the eagles: “…your song is bigger than the whole canyon. How wonderful!” 
And the world was filled with even more wonderfulness thanks to a grateful Baby Wren.
Hanna’s Comments: This secular book is all about a sacred act - singing praise to God. It is with a grateful and full heart that Baby Wren thanks her Maker for the splendor of her world. That is worship! Here you have a simple lesson about worship that is easily understood and relatable. Besides using this book to teach about praise and worship, consider playing with the two meanings of the word wonder. Both meanings are prominent in this story. Find scriptures that use this word and have your audience decipher the meaning. You might even want to distinguish it from the word wander which is also a concept in the Bible (think of the magi or the Israelites). And wandering can be a spiritual practice. Additionally, teach the concept of affirmation as beautifully demonstrated by the eagles in this story and encourage your children to practice it with one another. Tie this word to the concept of having gifts and offering them to God. At first Baby Wren is jealous of the other animals' abilities, but once she discovers and offers her gift, she is truly satisfied. Baby Wren is quite tiny in some of the illustrations so have young audiences locate her on each double-page spread.
Original Publisher & Date: Zonderkidz, 2016
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: There are many Bible verses and stories about praise and thanksgiving such as Hannah and Mary’s songs or the verses that start Psalm 100, 147, and 150.
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children in a lesson on praise as an example of worship. If you are doing a PBT lesson at a private or home school, also use this book to teach a vocabulary lesson as described above.