I am bored of moral tales. When I let my kids watch TV, I rarely choose shows about “being kind” or “telling the truth”. If the world is going to teach my kids something, I’d rather it be ABCs and 123s. The same goes for books. Modern books that teach a moral remind me of a formula sitcom. Is it just me?
This week at the library I followed my own advice and searched the card catalog by Christian publisher’s names. And I stumbled upon a set of books that I had forgotten about–Janette Oke’s Animal Friends. If you’ve been around Christian publishing for any amount of time you know Janette Oke. She was one of the first Christian fiction romance authors and I read most of her books throughout middle school and beyond!
The Animal Friends books are short chapter books (about 80 pages) that focus on a different young animal and a problem it’s having in it’s family. The first one I read was Prairie Dog Town by Janette Oke. Flick, a little prairie dog learns a lesson in obeying his parents and the dangers that come when he refuses. Today, we read 4 chapters from Pordy’s Prickly Problem by Janette Oke over lunch. Pordy is a fearful little porcupine that learns to be brave with her mother’s help.
I like these books for several reasons:
1. Chapter book. I think kids should always be listening to books “too old” for them. So, if your child is a pre-reader like mine, this is still a good book for them to listen to. And I think books that take a few days to read are more apt to settle in your thoughts and heart.
2. Animals. Kids love animals. And little “kid” animals are even more fun. I actually learned something from the porcupine book today. Did you know porcupines are born in a nest on the ground but live in trees as adults? Maybe that’s common knowledge but I sure didn’t know it!
3. Christian Perspective. It’s a moral tale–but from a decidedly Christian perspective. I am sometimes slightly turned off by secular books that teach moral tales with a “embrace the universe/energy” or “look in yourself” mentality. Although there was no scripture or even the word “God”, the 2 books we’ve read from this series had a big nod to practical Christain thoughts–obeying your parents, recognizing authority, putting others before your desires, and more.
I’ve recently decided to read to the kids during lunch and I think we might just try to make it through all the Animal Friends books!