Author: Bijou Le Tord
Illustrator: Bijou Le Tord
Audience: Although this book is published for “all ages” and is one of Doubleday’s Books for Young Readers, I actually would not use this book with young children. I would give it a “PG-13” rating due to: 1) the difficulty that I believe young children would have in connecting the words to some of the pictures, 2) the fact that it is a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer, and 3) one illustration depicting a dead animal would possibly be disturbing to younger children (and I’m not sure how appropriate it is for this text in general). I would use this book with teens and adults.
Summary: This book is a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer that emphasizes stewardship of creation and awareness of environmental abuses inflicted by people.
Literary elements at work in the story: The genre is poetic prayer and the overriding theme is the environment and our relationship with God and creation. The setting is the Amazon rain forest (as depicted in the illustrations). The perspective is interesting as it incorporates both the familiar and the foreign. Since it is a prayer it is, at once, first person (we are also praying) and communal as the body of worshippers, and, in this book there is an additional dimension because it appears to also be more specifically the perspective of someone indigenous to the rain forest.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/abilities:
By employing the perspective of the indigenous forest people, it is the native Indians, who are portrayed as stewards of the land and wildlife. The culture is tribal with the logger representing the “outside world” who brings destruction.
Scripture: Genesis 1: 26-30, Genesis 9: 9-10, 13, 16-17, Matthew 6: 9-15 (various translations would be helpful), Deut. 20: 19 (These passages were selected to follow the emphasis on the environment that this books espouses.)
Theology: We reflect God’s love and concern for all creation when we love and care for one another and for the plants and animals that are in our world. God provides all that we need for eternal life – the things we enjoy daily (like food, water, and shelter) are not the ultimate gifts but are a means for us to participate in the stewardship of the earth – through them we can, for example, show hospitality to one another and compassion for living things. This book would be particularly good to use in a study of environmental theology.
God’s love cannot be limited or stopped. Although we continue to do things that are wicked in the eyes of God, we can pray for God’s assistance and strength to help us in our disobedience. We are also accountable to one another in the things we do and say. As Christians we are to help one another learn and follow the ways of God.
While we await the coming of the Kingdom of God, we can embody the Kingdom in the here and now by living into the commandments of God and the teachings of Christ as we know them from scripture and by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom is not confined to the future, but can be experienced in Christ even now. The Kingdom is both as far as heaven and as close as our back yard.
Faith Talk Questions:
A. Questions on illustrations:
- Where is God in these illustrations?
- Why do you think the illustrator depicted “tempted/temptation” the way she did?
- How would you “paint” temptation? Does it look the same to everyone?
- Do the illustrations represent the words that go with them?
- Do these illustrations make you think differently about the Lord’s Prayer?
B. Questions on Text:
- Does the wording of this version of the Lord’s Prayer help you understand it differently than they way you learned it growing up? In what way?
- Which word(s) stands out most to you?
- How do you understand the words trespasses/debts/wicked ways? Which one do you think most fits this prayer?
- Why do we pray for God to “let us not be tempted?”
- Have you ever thought about what this prayer means to other cultures?
- If you were paraphrasing the Lord’s Prayer for your school, how would it sound? What words would you use in your version of the prayer?
Review prepared by Nadine Ellsworth-Moran, MDiv/MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2004