Author: Libba Moore Gray
Illustrator: Nadine Bernard Westcott
Publisher: Orchard Books
Audience: Ages 4-6
Summary: The story is that of a “wee fat man” and a “wee fat woman” who live in a very small house at the bottom of a hill. Their family consists of a goose, duck, sheep, hen, pig, dog, cow, and a cat. A skunk watches the family but they never let him get too close. One night a bad rainstorm occurs. One by one the animals come to the house asking if they can stay with the man and woman. After all the family is in the bed, the skunk knocks on the door and asks to come inside. The woman lets him in while the man and the other animals run away. When they all realize they are getting soaked, everyone comes back to the feather bed.
Literary elements at work in the story: The characterization is the primary element that stands out in this story. The bright pictures along with the descriptive words of the author bring life to each of the characters in the story. Although there is no illustration of the rainstorm at the beginning of the story, the author uses such descriptive words that the reader is able to picture this particular setting in the story quite well.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: This book does not offer a particular perspective for any of these categories.
Scripture: Matthew 25:35-40, 1 Corinthians 12:25
Theology: When you help someone (or something) in need, you are in effect giving assistance to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and this is discipleship behavior. We are called to care about each other and to recognize God’s intention for us to be interdependent on one another.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Compare the family in this story to your own family. How are they the same? How are they different?
- Why is the skunk not a part of the family in the story?
- How does the “wee fat woman” treat each animal who asks for shelter from the storm?
- Why do you think the “wee fat man” and all the other animals leave the house quickly when the woman invites the skunk to share the feather bed?
- What do the animals in this story learn?
- How does this story illustrate what it means to welcome others?
Review by Marcia A. Rauch, Union-PSCE alumna