Monday, September 18, 2017

No More Fruit?

Picture Book: Little Apple Goat
Author & Illustrator: Caroline Jayne Church 
Summary: In this story, an ordinary goat has quite an extraordinary appetite
Wednesday's laundry isn't appetizing to her. 
Instead she loves fruit! Each autumn, Little Apple Goat patiently waits for fruit to fall before she munches and munches. 
Any fruit will do: cherries, pears, and especially apples. 
For years, Little Apple Goat spits the pits and seeds over the hedge on her way home from the orchard
On one particular day, the breeze is strong. 
It picks up to a bluster and then a storm, a terrible storm. 
The animals gather in their barn, huddled together while watching and hearing the terrible wind. 
Once it's safe, Little Apple Goat hurries to see her beloved fruit trees. 
Every tree is destroyed! 
As the farmer cuts and drags debris away, the animals are sad. They agree that the farm "just won't be the same without the orchard." 
When winter comes, Little Apple Goat thinks how the logs from the orchard trees are keeping the farmer warm. 
Spring comes, and Little Apple Goat notices blossoms peeking out over the hedge. She wonders about them. 
"Then one Autumn" the fruit trees are back and their yummy fruit! The animals wonder who could have planted all the new fruit trees. 
We know who!
Hanna’s Comments: Recently I’ve heard several radio stories about the destruction of fruit crops in Florida because of Hurricane Irma. This book seems perfect for children or families in congregations who have experienced the destruction of recent hurricanes because it offers a comforting long view, a hopeful view that seeds (even Fruit of the Spirit seeds) are already planted for their recovery. Fruit is coming - sweet, juicy fruit and the fruit we see in the generous goodness of others who have compassionately responded to pain and loss. Picture books are a non-threatening and comforting tool for difficult subjects, even for adults. Having a faith orientation that helps with this kind of hope builds resilience and sustains in the difficult work and wait ahead. Read this book to other groups as well because we all suffer through disasters or tragedies and need to lean on our faithful hope to wait and endure. Seeds are planted without us knowing. Later we enjoy their goodness and sustenance.  
Original Publisher & Date: Eerdmans, 2007
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength… (Isaiah 40:31); Behold, for I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth. Do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19); For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11); Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation… Romans 12:12); What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. (1 Corinthians 15: 36); the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children in your faith family and talk about recent natural disasters. Help the children view those negative consequences with hope that is found in their faith. OR Tie this book to Paul's Fruit of the Spirit by considering those in your audience's lives who generously plant such fruit. 

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