With a friend on the left,
And a friend on the right,
Come gather round
This week’s story is a natural sequel to the story by Patrick McDonnell reviewed last week. I found this the same day as the previous story. I am hoping that you were able to read the first story to your child, or in your classroom setting.
Just Like Heaven, also about our two little friends, Mooch and Earl.
One misty morning the fog had crept around Mooch's favorite tree. When he awoke, he didn't quite know where he was. He looked left, and saw nothing. He looked right, and saw nothing. Everything that was familiar to him was covered in a dim fog. He wondered where he was—could it be heaven? I must be in heaven, he thought, and that is where his journey in this tale begins.
About two weeks ago, I was reading this book to a group of children from the ages of 6 to 11. We were in a glorious setting in a forest glen, sitting above a ravine of Maple, Pine and Douglas Fir trees. Each child was able to sit on a small tree stump and look over the panoramic view in this little haven of peace. As I read the story, it was easy to focus the children. This setting embodied the bit of heaven that is all around us at any moment or at any given time. How often we forget that there is beauty in the trees whispering, the flowers dancing, and the birds singing. In this natural setting I reminded the children that we can appreciate our friends, homes, families and even in the small disturbances in our lives. All of these lessons reflect to us, like a mirror, where our energy lies.
To return to the story, the most captivating page is when Mooch comes across a fierce dog tied to a chain. The dog lets out a big “BARK." Now, under normal conditions, Mooch would have gone all fuzzy with fear and run away. But this is not a normal day, since he may be in heaven. Mooch asks himself, "Here and now, what should I do?" Then he opens his arms and says......
Sorry, I don't want to give the story away. You’ll have to read it. But I will give you this hint: The children are so full of love for the story, they can't refrain from turning to the partner next to them and acting out exactly what Mooch does in the story.
It has never failed me yet.
Children’s senses are heightened when they are in an outdoor setting. This is the perfect book for taking outside; nature will expand your young listeners’ awareness to comprehend its deeper meaning. It’s perfect on a foggy morning, but any kind of morning, or any time of day, will do.
When I read this story to my class, we ended our time together by taking the love of beauty aroused in us and using it to do a creative visualization from Sharing Nature with Children called "Expanded Mediation Circle." This can be done with children ages 6-adult.
This story, read against the backdrop of nature, provides a perfect way to tap into the appreciation, love and harmony expressed in the joy of spirit in and around us.
Many blessings, until next week.
Joyful reading, friends. .......