Friday, October 26, 2018

Iowa Presentation: Book #5

Below is my initial post about the last of the 5 books I talked about at my presentations in Iowa. It may be a personal favorite because it is so weird and wonderful. I hope you find ways to use it in your ministry among the many suggestions I've given you below. Here's that post:

One of the benefits of PBT is bringing high-quality secular stories to audiences of faith. Encouraging connections between that story and scripture boosts faithful responses for several reasons. Check out my Picture Books in Ministry tab for more about this. There is so much "below the surface" of these secular picture books!
Children's literature is getting better and better! Some stories are so good, you want your audience to explore them thoroughly, like the PBT book I'm featuring today. This new picture book has 2 protagonists so I encourage you to do what I call The PBT Flip-Flop, which involves finding the connections in opposite aspects of the story. I explain more in my comments below. It's so simple to do!
Picture Book: Hattie & Hudson
Author & Illustrator: Chris Van Dusen
Summary: Hattie lives near a beautiful lake. She has an nature exploration ritual every morning.
On this particular morning, Hattie sings a sort of invitation song in her canoe. A huge creature, who usually stays hidden deep within the lake, is lured by Hattie’s lovely song. He decides to breach the surface, something he has not done for a very long time despite being very lonely. 
 
When the creature surfaces, Hattie is intrigued so she keeps singing. 
After looking in the creature’s eyes, Hattie knows there is no reason to fear. The creature even begins to harmonize with her!
However, the others on the lake soon see the creature and are terrified. The creature disappears into the waters. 
Both Hattie & the creature wonder if they'll see each other again. That evening Hattie decides to venture out and see. 
They do meet again. Hattie isn't afraid of the two eyes below the surface
or the creature's head when it emerges. She names her new friend Hudson. 
They play together all night and plan to meet again the next evening. 
The next day a meeting at The Town Hall is all about "getting rid of ...the Deadly Beast." Hattie tries to speak up, but there's no room for her voice. 
When Hattie and Hudson meet again, Hattie explains the adults' plan. Hudson surprises her with a bump of the canoe and a smile, then another bump and smile. Hattie soon understands. 
Next morning as her neighbors prepare, Hattie paddles to the center of the lake and waits for Hudson. 
 Hudson gently overturns Hattie's canoe. 
Then Hattie's acting begins. She makes sure her screams of terror are heard by the neighbors. As expected, they jump in their boats to rescue her. 
 
Just as they get close, Hudson to the rescue! 
The neighbors all watch in amazement as Hudson lifts Hattie above the water. 
Hudson gently swims Hattie to the pier and places her there. 
Next, Hattie holds a meeting of her own. She introduces Hudson, declares him to be safe, and assures everyone that once they get to know him, he will be their friend too. A boy approaches, and eventually others befriend Hudson. 
Once Hudson is fully integrated into the community, people from far away come to meet and play with him, the "famous friendly monster."  
But at night, it is just Hattie and Hudson growing and playing together.
Hanna’s Comments: If you are inclined create or piggyback a tune for Hattie’s song and sing it while reading. A musical friend of mine suggested trying the tune to "Do Your Ears Hang Low." Singing will enhance this story experience. The PBT Flip-Flop method is to read the story and then have 2 very different (even opposite) conversations. With this book, I encourage you to ask your audience the 2 questions below. Ask the second question only after the first has been discussed.
How is God (or Jesus) like Hattie?
How is God (or Jesus) like Hudson?
Another way you can use this book is to encourage connections to the gospel story in which Jesus heals the man born blind who then must defend Jesus to the Pharisees. Simply ask your audience to find any connections between that gospel story and the picture book. The stories don't have to be parallel. They just have to have some connections. Another Bible story to consider is Philip and the Eunuch. Notice the holy ideas that are here such as Hattie's contemplative ritual each morning. There's an aspect of worship in her ritual. Consider Hudson being lured by Hattie's song. That's like previenent grace. There's a lot of holy risk-taking and justice seeking for the stranger in this story. Talk about those! 
Original Publisher & Date: Candlewick Press, 2017
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Do not be conformed to this world... (Romans 12:2); Scriptures about the nature of God such God being viewed as a shield for all who need refuge (Psalm 18:30) Or the nature of Jesus such as when he heals the man born blind (John 9:1-34) or Philip, Jesus' disciple, welcoming a eunuch into Christianity (Acts 8:26-40); verses about welcoming the stranger such as when Jesus heals the Bent-Over Woman (Luke 13:10-16) or Jesus visiting Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) Or scriptures about wisdom or discernment when faced with a problem
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of tweens or older and ask them to find connections via The PBT Flip-Flop method as described above in my comments.