Joan & Roger Bradfield ~ Augsburg Publishing, 1969
Most of you longtime readers know that I'm a lapsed Episcopalian. That as far as devotional children's books go, I lean toward the open-minded 60s when "God is Love" was more pervasive in religion than the politics of so many of today's churches. I'm a big fan of titles that are secular and focus on themes like loving your fellow man no matter what color, religion or creed. So, to find that from the creative mind of Roger Bradfield (and his wife!) is pretty spectacular, indeed.
Hello, Friend is part "birthday book", part "God is awesome" manifesto and part "friends from all over the world are cool" celebration. And if religion isn't your thing at all, the pictures are enough to appreciate from afar. Case in point...
Lester McGuire has just moved into a new house, and he awakens on the morning of his birthday feeling he has not a friend in the world.
How could he have a birthday party if he didn't have any friends to invite? And what good was the shiny new camera his father had given him for his birthday if he didn't have any friends to take pictures of?
Ahhh, there's the rub. Young Lester soon falls asleep and finds himself on the street in Paris where he meets a little girl who shares her balloons. Soon, they float to China where they meet another boy and learn about kites and cricket cages. Next, they end up in Africa, riding an elephant with a sweet little animal-loving boy. In Denmark, they meet gobs of Scandinavian children and take a balloon ride that ends in a loud bang, thus ending the dream.
Later in the morning, Lester goes to church school, and who should be there waiting for him? You guessed it!
A sweet story that emphasizes how were are all, everyone of us, God's children. Be it Allah or YHVH or none at all. I'd like to teach the world to sing... Though, again, some of Bradfield's depictions are a bit dated, the heart of the text shines through.
The Together Book
Sherlock Hemlock and the Great Twiddlebug Mystery
There's an Elephant in the Bathtub
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