Monday, July 16, 2018

PBT Series: Picture Book Classics #3

Below I'm featuring again a favorite discovery during my first year of PBT. Because that year I posted about a book everyday, you don't get as many photos of illustrations, but all the usual content is here. This is a beautiful classic that I encourage you to read for yourself if you don't know it. It's central message is needed more than ever across ages and in sacred and secular communities.  
Picture Book: The Happy Owls
Author & Illustrator: Celestino Piatti  
Summary: A pair of owls lives happily all year long. Their neighbors, barnyard fowl, are constantly eating, drinking, and fighting. The preening peacock wants to know why the owls seem to always be content. The other birds suggest that he visit them and ask. When the peacock asks about their happiness, the owls suggest he bring all his feathered friends to hear how they can be so content. Once all the birds are together, the owls explain and demonstrate their attentiveness and joy at seasonal details of nature. These practices of attention and gratitude lead to their happiness. The owls find joy and revel in the beauty of each season. What is the response of the barnyard animals? “What nonsense!’ and “Do you call that happiness?”  Then they return to their farmyard life, unpersuaded and unchanged. In contrast, the two owls snuggle in for winter, looking into one another’s wise owl eyes.
Hanna’s Comments: My library system has only one copy of this book, a 1964 publication. However, this classic has been reissued and can be easily purchased on-line. The price varies a lot so you may want to watch it for a while. I did not know of this classic which was initially published in Switzerland. When I saw the video in the collection mentioned below, I knew it must be one of my PBT daily offerings. What a treasure! What a beautiful message of contentment as a result of attention and gratitude, what we would call “mindfulness” today. If you like old books and styles of art, then you’ll especially like this picture book. Find a blog post about it on The Art of Children's Picture Books, which I've added to My Blog List to the right.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Artemis Verlag, 1963
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Audible, A video version is in the collection Corduroy & More Stories about Caring
Scripture Connections: This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be thankful (Psalm 118:24); let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28)
Idea(s) for Application: Reverence is a difficult but important concept to teach children in a worshiping community. Use this book to help your children understand the benefits of being mindful of God’s generosity and reverent when worshiping.