Monday, January 22, 2018

Perfection

Want a simple picture book that is a metaphor for life? Here you go.
Picture Book: Perfect Square 
Author & Illustrator: Michael Hall
Summary: A square begins as perfection 
and very, in fact perfectly, happy. 
But something changes it. Holes are punched. Pieces are cut. The perfect square is no more. 
It makes the best of the changes and becomes a gurgling fountain. 
 Then tearing happens. What next? 
 A garden. 
Then it is shredded into strips of itself 
which is perfect for a park.
Next comes shattering. 
 Bridge building is better. 
 Being snipped into ribbons is different. 
This leads to an unusual river. 
Next comes crumpling, wrinkling, and more ripping. 
The result looks a lot like a mountain.
The square waits.  
It's perspective is changed. It feels too limited by the corners, the 4 equal sides so... 
it becomes a window, 
a window... 
and... 
a fountain that gurgles with joy.
Hanna’s Comments: I love the creativity of this book! Oh to have such talent! If your audience is like me, they might be a little bothered that the words here don't seem quite true. Obviously, the changes are happening to multiple squares. I've represented the author/illustrator's words above, but be sure to ask your audience why Hall might have chosen to keep the story singular while the illustrations show multiple squares being transformed. Each transformations happens on a day of the week so this book can be used with young children to practice saying those words in order. I hope you see the potential here to talk about perfection & imperfection, resurrection, loss and renewal, healing, transformation, vulnerability, and resilience. Hall has another cool book about shapes titled My Heart is Like a ZooEvery animal in the illustrations is comprised of hearts. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a lesson (or craft) near Valentine’s Day or a lesson focused on God’s heart.  [Here’s] an Amazon link. I’ll likely feature more of Michael Hall’s books later on PBT. His work is so simple but profound!
Original Publisher & Date: Greenwillow, 2011
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: Not at present
Scripture Connections: Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will the God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2); If anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17); If we love one another, God abides in us and God’s love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:12)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to any age group and talk about how difficult experiences bring forth healing transformation. Then talk about how faith informs and directs such resilience. Christ's resurrection is an obvious connection. OR Let this book be a part of a lesson on perfection versus imperfection and pride versus humility. Check out Brene Brown’s work for inspiration, particularly her very entertaining TED Talks [here] and [here.] I recommend viewing them in this order. The faith aspects of her work are obvious.