Monday, August 6, 2018

Grab & Go #15 – Our Tree Named Steve

Here's another fabulous picture book that needs no prep for an adult or children's lesson. Just read it to your audience and see the connections to scripture and spirituality emerge. Have you wondered why some of these posts have only the cover photo? They are re-posts from PBT's first year when I posted about a picture book everyday. Like those other 364 books, this book is full of inspiring illustrations. These are especially funny!
Picture Book: Our Tree Named Steve
Author: Alan Zweibel 
Illustrator: David Catrow 
Summary: A father writes his children a letter in which he celebrates all the gifts that have been given to them by Steve, the large, unusual tree near their home. Steve (how the youngest child said "tree") has become an important part of their family history: playmate, shelter, place of important milestones. Dad explains that the tree was knocked down by a storm but has been transformed into a tree house in another tree in their yard and will continue to nurture & protect them. 
Hanna’s Comments: This comical tale has such rich symbolic undercurrents and is full of potential for ties to scripture and spiritual transformation. You'll easily elicit conversations about important elements of family life such as play, ritual, protection, & sacrifice. Tie these to all that is holy at church and in nature. Allusions to Jesus' sacrifice are here as well as Steve as a symbol of God who is ever-present, ever-nurturing, and ever-loving.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Puffin, 2005
Age and Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: God’s presence with us, giving us rest (Exodus 33:14), God’s plans for our welfare & future (Jeremiah 29:11), Jesus’ sacrifice (John 3:16), I am with you always (Matthew 28:20); Zacchaeus in the tree (Luke 19:1-10); Like the father here, Paul wrote letters to convey the meaning of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection
Idea(s) for Application: Consider reading this book at an Arbor Day Celebration, a faith family festival, a family reunion, or in a church Sunday school class during Lent.