Monday, November 14, 2011

Walter the Baker: Themes: Confession/Redemption, Honesty, Making Mistakes/Telling the Truth, Occupations, Pretzels, Multicultural Units

Title: Walter the Baker by Eric Carle
Word Density: Medium
My Recommended Age-Appropriateness: Preschool to 12

1. Confession and honesty.
2. Redemption.

1. Making mistakes.
2. Telling the truth, even when it's hard.
3. Pretzels.
4. Occupations and community workers.
5. Multicultural units.

SUMMARY: Walter the Baker tells the tale, in Eric Carle's own imaginative way, of the origin of the humble...pretzel. More like a fairy tale than his "Very" series, (The Very Grouchy Lady Bug, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, etc.,) this story is wordier and can be used for an older audience. And what fun! Walter, the "Very Gifted Baker," pleases the Duke and Duchess every morning with his fantastic sweet rolls. But one day, an accident causes him to make a grave mistake, and Walter substitutes water for the milk in the recipe. He hopes no one will find out, but the sophisticated palates of his rulers detect the problem straightaway. The Duke wants to banish Walter forever, but then decides to offer him a chance for redemption. Walter is challenged to invent a roll through which the "rising sun can shine three times." But to make things trickier, he added, "it must be made from one piece of dough, must taste good." Walter fears he is good as lost, until another accident saves the day. With lively and colorful collage illustrations, Carle's sense of humor shines through. I especially liked the pages where Walter is shown struggling to invent the new roll, and bits of dough show up in strange places, even on the poor, intrusive cat. Very fun even on a totally superficial level, Walter the Baker can be used to draw out deeper levels of meaning. Use it in storytime lessons teaching about mistakes, honesty, and redemption. Another Eric Carle classic!
Pick and choose from the suggested themes, Bible verses, and songs to create a lesson plan that best suits your current teaching unit or learning objective.

1. 1 John 1:9 "But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away." (CEV)

2. Psalm 34:22 "The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him." (NIV)


 "My Reedemer Lives" from the Hillsong Kids CD "Tell the World"

 "Second Chances" from the Veggie Tales soundtrack from "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie" CD

ENRICHMENT: Take your group to a local bakery to watch how pretzels or other baked goods are made. Bring some warm pretzels back for your children to enjoy.