Name of Book: The Big Red Tractor and the Little Village
Author: Francis Chan
Illustrator: Matt Daniels
Summary: This contemporary take on a parable tells of a village (community) who uses a difficult-to-use tractor to try and grow food for their entire village. Everybody in the village thinks that this is how the tractor works and functions but then a long forgotten book is found that tells about the tractor’s purpose and correct use of the tractor if it were working properly. When Farmer Dave finds this book and presents it to the village they laugh and do not look at the instructions. Farmer Dave then takes and studies the book and works on the tractor to help it fulfill all its potential. After completing the work on tractor, the farmer plows the field in one evening, a task which usually takes the villagers three months. The villagers question how it was done and then they come to see that Dave was right about the book all a long and by following the book of instructions the village prospers.
Literary Elements at work in this story: I believe that characterization is important. For example, the farmer is portrayed as a man who wants to help. He is determined and eager to make things right. The villagers are portrayed as a group of people who don’t like change, and who are quick to make fun of anyone who doesn’t think like they do. The setting is also an important element in the story. This is important because it takes place in a place that is familiar to some people. We can relate to this story more because at least most people have experienced farm life, whether it be from pictures, movies, TV shows or from our own personal experience. The genre of this book would be realistic fiction because the story is something that could happen in real like. This is important because, like the setting, it is something that we can relate to. We understand that by reading instructions we can have a better understanding of the piece of equipment that we are using.
How does the perspective on gender/culture/economics/ability make a difference in the story? Not a major element, but in this book the “small village” (community) discovers that they can make a difference and that they can and do make a difference in the world. Because of this book, we as individuals, churches, small towns, etc… need to know that we can and do make a difference.
Theological Conversation: This book points out that the best way to get through life is to follow the Instruction Manual; The Bible. By doing this it enables us to build a relationship with the one true God and helps us find His purpose for our lives.
Faith Talk Question:
Where do we find God’s Instructions? Is the Bible important for us to in our lives?
This review is written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Dan Sullivan