Eight-year-old Tina likes to see the books I read to the kindergartners at her cousin’s after school care. This time she’s particularly taken with Wilderness Cat and Clancy The Courageous Cow.
Wilderness Cat highlights God’s provision to a pioneer family–through their faithful cat. Most young children–Tina and the kinders included–like animals, but this quiet story held them all particularly enthralled. I think they strongly identified with the heroine, who obediently but with great difficulty gave her beloved cat to a neighbor before the family began their 50-mile trek to Canada.
Life was hard that winter, especially when Papa came home empty-handed from a hunting trip. There was a catch in my voice when Serena offered Mama her own dinner, and Mama refused. That night, Serena dreamed she heard her cat crying. Or was it a dream? She opened the door to find that her pet had not only returned, it was dragging a snowshoe hare with it. A feast followed, as well as a promise from Mama that they would never leave their faithful kitty behind again.
There’s nothing quiet about Clancy The Courageous Cow, and nothing subtle about its messages. Tina leafed through the book in the car, studying the pictures and announcing the very clear “lessons”: God made us all different and we’re all the way we’re supposed to be; just because someone is different, we don’t have to be mean; and even when others are mean to us, we don’t have to be mean to them. I have no idea whether author Lachie Hume would have attached the spiritual emphasis to the first point that Tina did; it is, of course, a reflection of Tina’s faith and the teachings of her mom and the school.
Which brings me to Scissortown and the fascinating reactions of the adults who read it. Stay tuned!