Friday, May 27, 2022

Hank's World


Isaiah 40:1 Comfort, O comfort My people, says your God.

After this month’s massacres in Buffalo, New York & Uvalde, Texas, I read again Rebecca Dudley’s beautiful books and thought how they might be a comfort to a child, a group of children, and even adult readers. The first book is about being lost, found, gently cared for, and then returned. We hope we are the ones doing these things, but sometimes we are the ones who are lost.

Dudley’s 2nd book is about a dream place. The dream seemed like heaven to me or at least an afterlife place. I’m not inclined to imagine the afterlife much (I do believe there is one), but this book was so comforting to me, especially with traumatized children in mind. Whether presented about the afterlife or not, it is a comforting book. With all this in mind, it seemed appropriate to post about these 2 books this week. Here's a link to a short YouTube demo video of Dudley’s amazing art process. Consider showing it to your audience. You all will want to crawl in her world and cuddle up!

Picture Book: Hank Finds an Egg

Author: Unlike her 2nd book, this book is wordless.

Illustrator: Rebecca Dudley

Summary: Hank is a little bear who, while wandering through a woods finds a hummingbird’s egg on the ground. He gently picks it up and then quickly finds the nest where it belongs. 

Hank struggles to keep the egg warm and figure out how to return it. He is not a big bear. With amazing ingenuity and perseverance, Hank returns the egg and is beautifully thanked by a parent hummingbird and later by the little bird right after its birth.

Hanna’s Comments: This artist is an architect who creates every component of her magical Storywoods. Watch her video and be entranced.

Original Publisher: Peter Pauper Press, 2013

Age Appropriateness: 2 and up

Formats other than Book: None at present

Scripture Connections: This book connects well with the lost parables in Luke 15 and The Good Samaritan in Luke 10. They could even be tied to Jesus’ healing stories for those he healed (and the people who loved them most) were certainly lost in the circumstances of illness.

PBT Applications: Cuddle in together with this wordless book after a difficult week and talk to children about what makes them feel lost. Then talk about how God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, or kindhearted people help us find our way back to what is more comfortable and normal.

Picture Book: Hank Has a Dream

Author/Illustrator: Rebecca Dudley

Summary: Hank meets up with the little hummingbird baby of the first book (above) and says, “Last night I dreamed I flew! I was all by myself, but I wasn’t scared."  

Then the readers see (as Hank and his friend mimic) beautiful images of Hank flying in a hot air balloon, following a path to the ocean and over the clouds. There he floats peacefully. It ends with Hummingbird wanting to hear about the dream again!   

Hanna’s Comments: See above in the intro. to this post. If this book doesn’t offer an image of the afterlife for you, no worries. Talk about the biblical concept of peace. Talk about how dreams have been viewed as a way for God to gives us messages. Encourage your audience to wonder about that.

Original Publisher: Peter Pauper Press, 2014

Age Appropriateness: 3 and up

Formats other than Book: None at present

Scripture Connections: This book will connect with Jacob’s dream in Genesis 28, Joseph’s interpretation of dreams in general (Genesis 40 & 41), and any verses about the afterlife. It also connects to any scripture about peace or peaceful places. You could also talk about the importance of listening to a friends dreams - bedtime dreams or dreams of the future. 

PBT Applications: Read this book to children who have had an encounter with death either directly or in the news. Do not present this as an image of heaven or the afterlife. Instead, encourage positive talk about the dream place and offer up wonderings about whether heaven or the afterlife is like Hank’s dreams.

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