Monday, February 12, 2018

PBT Redux #21 Love Monster and the Last Chocolate

This year Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday are on the same day. For some people, Ash Wednesday begins a Lenten journey of struggle and denying your desires. My Lenten journey will involve better Sabbath practices. I'll bask in the love of God that is always available. Today’s PBT Redux is a reminder of God's love that is better than chocolate, ever present, and more abundant than we realize. You might want to have some chocolate handy when you read this one.
Picture Book: Love Monster and the Last Chocolate
Author & Illustrator: Rachel Bright 
Summary: This book is in a series of 4 books. In all, you’ll find Love Monster living in a world of cute, fluffy characters and exploring their relationships. In the introductory book, Love Monster searches for love among the fluffy creatures, thinking no one will love a slightly hairy, googly-eyed monster. He's so wrong and so lovable.
In this book, Love Monster knows he is loved by all his cute fluffy animal friends. He is fretting about a box of chocolates, found when he arrives home from a trip. 
Before opening it, he worries about whether he should share the chocolates. There might not be enough to share with all his cute, fluffy friends. 
Someone might eat his favorite, Double Chocolate Strawberry Swirl.  
Perhaps he will have only the coffee one left after sharing. He hates the coffee one!
After deciding not to share and then feeling very guilty,
 he runs to his friends 
and confesses his selfishness. 
They insist that he look in the box.  
There he finds one chocolate, his favorite, and a love note saying how much they missed their favorite monster. 
The story ends with this wise statement: “Sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others that you start to find out just how much they think of you.”
Hanna’s Comments: How could I not love this book?! It’s about 2 of my favorite experiences in this great life God gives us: chocolate and friends! Your children will get a kick out of Love Monster’s fretting. Help them realize how he struggles with generosity but is still willing. Claim and explain the joys of generosity.
Allow your audience to give examples of when they have discovered surprising generosity from others. Tie it all together with some scripture. See my suggestions below.
Original Publisher & Date: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015 
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 2 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: One gives freely, yet grows all the richer. (Proverbs 11:24-25); Give and it will be given to you. (Luke 6:38a); It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35b); Let no one seek their own good but the good of a neighbor (1 Cor. 10:24); Look not only to your own interests but to the interests of others (Phil. 2:4); any scripture involving God's abundant love or grace
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book when teaching children about the joys (and struggles) of generosity. OR Teach this book to explore God's abundant love (or grace) freely and surprisingly given, even when our inclinations are selfishness.