Monday, June 5, 2017

Growl as Gift

Picture Book: The Story of Growl
Author & Illustrator: Judy Horacek
Summary: Horacek's clever tale features a small monster named Growl, for obvious reasons. 
Growl lives in a castle at the end of her street. 
There her neighbors don’t appreciate her hyperactivity 
 or her favorite past-time. 
Growl never stops growling! 
She even has a little song she loves to sing about her particular passion! 
One day she thinks the perfect place to let go a big one is across the fence at her unsuspecting neighbors, during afternoon tea!
The neighbors are not pleased. 
They call the police who respond with swift limits. 
Growl is so sad! Time slows, and she is hyper no longer,
"Running is hard when you're trying not to cry." 
Sleeping is hard too. While awake, she spies a prowler in the neighbors' yard trying to steal the afternoon tea set!" 
She can't help herself! 
The neighbors are grateful, especially that she has saved their afternoon tea set! 
Maybe her growling isn't so bad after all they reason! They trash the sign. The police agree, explaining that it "was much too quiet in your neighborhood." 
Growl is so very happy. She can growl again!
And sing her little song! 
But not at afternoon tea, where instead, Growl enjoys her neighbors, their tea, and their afternoon tea set. 
After tea?
 Everybody growls!
Hanna’s Comments: I love this character! I can’t tell you how many people in my church family have a little bit of Growl in them, including myself at times. I bet you can relate. One of my church’s priorities is to “encourage authenticity.” On our website, we suggest you leave your “church face” behind and come as you are. That might result in some complaints, but even the Bible has plenty of complainers. Remember all those lamentations! And what about the prophets? I don’t imagine Isaiah or Jeremiah spoke with soft, quiet voices. I suspect they growled a lot and weren't popular in their neighborhood. What else can you do when God is no longer worshiped or justice is forgotten? The heart of this little parable is a story of neighbors trying to get along. Despite early prejudices and fearful misunderstandings, (Sound relevant?), they discover that even a growl can be a gift and a fun pastime with a friend.
Original Publisher & Date: Kane/Miller, 2007
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. (Job 7:11); Scripture concepts of lamenting and the growling of prophets
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children to help them understand that all sorts of people are found in the scriptures (and in faith families), even those who lament or growl for justice. God’s image is in each one, and we are called to be their neighbors.

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