Friday, July 12, 2019

PBT Redux #27 No Dogs Allowed

I’m on vacation this week so I'm going with a repeat of a post about a book celebrating the joys of getting away. This story about a fun day trip was one of my favorite discoveries during my first year of PBT. That year I posted about a book every day! You can take this comical story in many serious directions or stay with the fun of it. Spiritual practices that it touches on include hospitality, inclusion, accommodation, rule following, feasting, and being present when someone (or some group) is left out.  

Picture Book: No Dogs Allowed
Author: Sonia Manzano
Illustrator: Jon J. Muth
Summary: This is a story of a New York City family taking a day trip to Enchanted State Park to enjoy the lake. But it is so much more! Iris first introduces us to her family, a cast of caricatures that will have you giggling. Tons of food are prepared, bulging cases of necessities are packed, and a decision is made to bring El Exigente, the dog. Neighbors come along with their many necessities and vibrant personalities. A long line of cars streams out of the city bulging with folks ready to be enchanted. After some car trouble, all arrive and see a sign at the edge of the parking lot, “NO DOGS ALLOWED.” While they “figure out what to do,” they stake their claim along the edge of the parking lot and pull out the food, games, and sunbathing paraphernalia. The humans take turns entertaining El Exigente who dutifully sits in the parking lot. When there is nothing left to eat and the sun is going down, the throng piles back into their cars and heads home, knowing that even El Exigente had an enchanting time at Enchanted State Park.    
Hanna’s Comments: This is such a delightful book, and there is so much more here than the comedy and turmoil of a day trip. You’ll find a spirit of loving acceptance, even for those who are self-centered or peculiar. At the heart of this family is a joyous hospitality and resilience with a determination that all will have fun no matter the circumstances, even if there are NO DOGS ALLOWED. I kept thinking as I read this book, if only our faith communities were this accepting, hospitable, and resilient. If only everyone could be so lovingly attentive and accommodating. Perhaps you can lead your family of faith into such suppositions with the help of this fun picture book and some scripture that ties it all together.   
Original Publisher & Date: Atheneum Books, 2004
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17); on these two commandments (Love the Lord, Your God… and the Golden Rule) depend all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:34-40); Jesus goes to the bent over woman (Luke 13:10-17); Jesus addresses Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10); a boy shares his loaves and fishes (John 6:5); Jesus does not condemn the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11)
Idea(s) for Application:  Consider using this book to help children understand how Jesus respected the ancient Hebrew Laws, but he sometimes broke them and argued that what God intended for The Law was being ignored by the Pharisees.