Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)




Monday, August 23, 2010

AN OFFERING FROM THE EARTH BECOMES FOOD FROM HEAVEN...

Jane G. Meyer has written two children's books, THE MAN AND THE VINE, and THE WOMAN AND THE WHEAT, that reveal beautifully how humanity's simple act of cooperation with God's creation and abundance brings not only food and drink for our enjoyment, but also an offering back to the Creator in worship - as bread and wine for Holy Communion. 

Boys in a Pasture, by Winslow Homer
The illustrations, by Ned Gannon, are colorfully rich and warm.  I was immediately reminded of the farms, fields, and open skies often seen in landscape paintings by artists such as Winslow Homer.  The pictures match Jane's lyrical and rhythmic text perfectly and will hold your children's attention to the very end of the books.

The first story, The Man and the Vine, is about the prayerful care a Man gives to his vineyard and the joy and anticipation of his first taste of the grape juice.  The pages that follow show a waxing and waning moon, and a shadowy cellar full of wine bottles...

With a sigh and a song, with a wink and a blink,
the grape who was juice went to sleep for a year.
A long, quiet year in a long, quiet room
where other juice slept too.

Then of course, the juice "wakes up" and the wine from the earth is offered to God. It becomes a Heavenly food, as the Man and his family partake of Communion...and the heavens sang along.

Jane's companion book, The Woman and the Wheat, is equally engaging - and a bit familiar, if children have ever watched their mothers baking bread.  (If not, Jane, an avid baker herself,  has a great blog at http://www.janegmeyer.wordpress.com/ - where she shares some wonderful recipes and many experiences on baking and giving.) 

Ned Gannon again lends his gorgeous artwork that brings Jane's storytelling alive, as a Woman plants some wheat and waits until spring, when she'll start working and weeding in the field.  She prays for the harvest of wheat that eventually goes to the miller, where it's turned into flour.

Now it's time to make the bread...With a splash of water, and a shake of salt; a sprinkle of yeast and a bowl full of flour, the woman brought the dough to life.  She swayed to and fro like a long stalk of wheat, working the dough with her strong warm hands, and the dough grew soft and smooth.

In the field, in her kitchen, and at church the Woman prays...
On her lips were more prayers of all sorts:  for the rain, and the sun, and the moon, and the wheat - and the bread that was to come. 
And her offering from the earth is a gift to God - and becomes His Gift to us - as  Food from Heaven.

Both books were published and are available at St. Vladamir's Seminary Press (www.svspress).  Get to know more about Jane, when you visit her website:  http://www.janegmeyer.com/

1 comment:

Marfa said...

I have yet to read this book, but need to get it for us...thanks!