Author: Libba Moore Gray
Illustrator: Jada Rowland
Publisher: Aladdin Picture Books
Audience: Ages 6 -11
Summary: Miss Tizzy is a touching story about an elderly woman’s nurture and care for the young children in her neighborhood and in turn, when Miss Tizzy becomes ill, the young children’s nurture and care for Miss Tizzy.
Literary Elements at work: Miss Tizzy is Libba Moore Gray’s realistic-fictional account of the ways in which friends form bonds and care for one another. The story is told from an adult perspective. Ms. Gray uses the days of the week as the setting to demonstrate Miss Tizzy’s nurture and care for her young friends. For example, On Monday Miss Tizzy bakes with the children, “and the children loved it.” “[A]nd the children loved it” is an oft repeated refrain Ms. Gray uses to make obvious that children enjoy participating in the activities of everyday life, making this an ideal book for adults to learn the value of spending time with children. Each day of the week finds Miss Tizzy and her young friends engaged in loving acts of nurture and care: singing together, dancing together, drawing together, sharing together, baking together, spending time outside listening and seeing together, and caring for others together. The story reaches its climax when Miss Tizzy becomes too ill to sing with, dance with, draw with, share with, bake with, spend time outside with, and care for others with her young friends. So the children use the days of the week to sing for, dance for, draw for, share with, bake for, and care for Miss Tizzy. Jada Rowland’s artistry, as well as her use of bright, warm colors captures beautifully Miss Tizzy’s vivid and vibrant spirit.
Scripture: 1 Timothy 5:3-10
Sometimes, in our American culture, childrearing, child teaching, child doctoring, etc…is seen as a trivial or unimportant way to spend one’s time, talent, and energy. This is evidenced in the way we Americans pay our teachers, particularly those who teach the very youngest of children; pediatricians, as compared to other physicians, daycare providers, pediatric dentists; etc…Likewise, in our American culture, the elderly are often viewed as of no consequence, objects to be shut away. This is evidenced by the way we Americans often ignore our elderly population and diminish their value. This text says that, “Elderly neighbors are contributing and vibrant members our neighborhoods.” It also says that, “Our children are worthy of our nurture and care.”
On an interesting side note, the word “children” occurs 453 times in the Bible. It occurs throughout the Torah, Prophets, Wisdom literature, Acts, Gospels, Letters, and Revelation. In addition, there are 14 Hebrew words and 6 Greek words that translate “children.” All this combines to say that children are an integral part of God’s design and work; therefore, they must also be an integral part of our design and work. Miss Tizzy shows us how.
Theology: God gives to us the gift of each other, children and elderly neighbors. God gives to us the ability to bake; sing; dance; draw; share; and see and hear God’s world together. We were and are created to live together in community, and children and elderly neighbors were and are valued participants.
Faith Talk Questions:
Read the story aloud. Go back to the beginning of the book; begin slowly turning the pages, asking your child(ren) to tell you what they see in the pictures. What does Miss Tizzy look like? What does her house look like? How does she dress? What kinds of things does Miss Tizzy like to do? What does all that tell you about Miss Tizzy? Do you like to bake? What kinds of things do you like to bake? Eat? Do you ever bake cookies for someone else? Has someone ever brought cookies to you? Do you like to tell stories? Hear stories? What kinds of stories to you like to tell? Hear? Who do you tell your stories to? Who tells you stories? Tell me about the music you hear and make. Tell me about the pictures you draw and share? Who do you like to dress up as? When you go outside in God’s world, at night, what sounds do you hear? What sights do you see? What smells do you smell? What does it feel like? Say, “God created us to care for one another.” How does Miss Tizzy care for the children in her neighborhood? Let’s make a list. Say, “God created us to care for one another.” How do the children care for Miss Tizzy? Let’s make a list.
Review prepared by Kim Lee, MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2008
Miss Tizzy by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.