If Jesus Came to My House is a lovely story about a boy who imagines what it would be like to have Jesus as a visitor. At the end of the story, he realizes that while it is not possible for Jesus to visit, he can still make Jesus happy by treating others the way he would have treated Him.
It was one of my major book splurges and I must say that I do not regret it one bit. This past week alone, we’ve used it as our basis for talking about Jesus being a friend, overcoming fears because Jesus is by your side, seeing Jesus in everything and everyone around you, and visiting Jesus in His house – the church.
The bright, vivid illustrations by Lori McElrath-Eslick show the joy and excitement that the little boy in the book feels throughout the story. As a go-along, we read Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? a book by the same illustrator; we compared the pictures in the two books. We talked about how painters and illustrators use different media for their pictures. Of course, we just had to get our hands on some of these materials!
We took out the Energizer Bunny’s watercolors and colored one of her virtue kids’ poster. Watercolor has always been challenging for me (still is!) so we had to experiment on the amount of water and the paint.
To experiment on poster paint, we did some comb painting inspired by this wonderful blog that I follow. Unfortunately, I don’t have “action shots” since I was not feeling too well when we did this. Basically, what we did was pour several colors onto a paper plate. The Energizer Bunny dipped the comb into the paint, mixing the colors, and proceeded to “paint” with it on paper! We found a cover of a Play-Doh tub nearby and tried to use this too to create circles. The little lady was very proud of the two paintings that we made!
The little boy in the story showed how to treat guests at home – greeting them at the door, offering them the best seat, serving tea, and making sure that the visitors feel welcome. Good manners and virtues such as those exemplified by the boy are some things that we are currently working on.
Aliki’s book entitled Manners was the perfect accompaniment to this discussion. Albeit a bit long, I was surprised at how interested the Energizer Bunny was throughout the book, asking questions and even relating it to events that she has experienced in the past.
I loved how the book started by defining manners in words that children can easily understand – “Manners are the way people behave. Manners are the way you treat others. Good manners make you nice. They make others want to be with you.”
As sharing is a big issue for children her age (note: she was only 3 when wrote this post), we talked about what she should do if she wanted to play with something that her playmate was sill using – “I ask her if I can borrow it after she’s done playing and then I wait for my turn.”
We also processed what she should do if it was her playmate that wanted to play with something she was using. Every day since reading the book we would identify which actions are good manners and which are not. At a young age, my husband and I do not expect her to be perfectly behaved all the time. It is a definitely a work in progress but we believe that making her aware of these choices and helping her practice good and positive attitudes will help instill these virtues to our child’s growing heart.
The book briefly talked about shadows and how the boy overcame his fear because he knows that Jesus is with him. To help our daughter be more comfortable with her shadow and the dark, we played with a homemade shadow puppet theater. Together, we learned about how shadows of all shapes, sizes, and colors are made.
To make the theater, I took an old piece of illustration board, cut out a rectangle (about 8×10 inches) a little bit off the center and covered it with tracing paper. I scored the lower part of the board to serve as a stand. Mariel made a similar theater from a cardboard box here.
For the puppets, I simply printed out characters from Hey, Diddle, Diddle, and asked the Energizer Bunny to tape it to wooden sticks. I printed another set and cut out some of the middle parts of the shapes and replaced it with cellophane for the colored shadows.
The Energizer had so much fun with this activity that we probably had at least 5 turns each being the “puppeteer”! She tried her toy cat, her bunny figurine, and herself! We learned what a “silhouette” is using the picture that we took of her.
She then proceeded to see her shadows casted on the wall. We pointed out how her shadows become bigger when she’s near the light and how it becomes smaller as she goes farther from it.
At one point during our shadow play, my little girl hugged me and wondered aloud, “What will happen if we’re together?” “What do you mean? “ I asked. “The shadow is a heart,” she replied so innocently and matter-of-factly, and then proceeded to dance with her shadow. Now isn’t that the most wonderful thing to hear? If only for that, I would splurge on this book over and over again.
Have you read this book?