Hi, Book Lovers,

Kimberly has discovered a picture book from the general market that sounds terrific. Although the author does not cite  Bible verses,  Kimberly shows how the principles explored in the story intersect with God and His Word. Enjoy…

Nancy

No picnic would be complete without a fire-breathing dragon. According to Duck and Raccoon, he’s an essential character in the event. Raccoon however, thinks he’s a frightening menace, and Duck views him as a marshmallow toasting asset.

Ready for Anything by Keiko Kasza (author and illustrator) is a charming tale of two animal friends setting off for a picnic in the woods. Raccoon is having second thoughts about the whole idea–imagining all sorts of horrible scenarios from killer bees to drenching rivers. Duck shares his own positive spin of fluttering butterflies and flying kites. After some intense preparation on Raccoon’s part, the two friends set off on their adventure.

Everything is going splendidly until they arrive at their picnic spot only to discover that Duck (the optimist) has forgotten the picnic basket. Suddenly all of Raccoon’s preparation doesn’t seem so overkill. His “emergency” stash of food becomes lunch. He even remembered the marshmallows, just in case they see that dragon.

Imagination is a key feature of childhood, but when ideas turn to fear and worry it’s important to show our children the power of optimism. Rather than thinking everything will turn out for the worse, what if good things come? Author Keiko Kasza aptly labels our imaginings “what-ifs” and even Raccoon admits that Duck’s “what-ifs” are wonderful. When “what-ifs” keep us hiding under a blanket, we need to turn things around, like Duck, and remember, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Optimism can only carry us so far, however, and Duck and Raccoon can teach us this as well. It isn’t enough to set off assuming that everything will go our way without a little preparation. There is a balancing act to this that I am still trying to learn. God does not want us to worry, but He does expect us to prepare. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish, everyone who sees it will ridicule him.” (Luke 14:28-29, NIV)

This simple story is a great entry point to teaching this balance to our children. The lesson is clear, and presented in engaging prose and delightfully simple yet fun illustrations. I’ll be looking for more books by Keiko Kasza.

Ready for Anything was published by Putnam Juvenile, 2009.

Kimberly Lavoie is the mother of three wonderful children, a seven-year-old daughter with special needs (ASD) and twin three year-olds. She loves to read and write and has always dreamed of raising children with the same love. She blogs about the challenges and joys of special needs parenting with a Christian worldview at The Simple Life: http://thesimplelifekdl.blogspot.com

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