Friday, June 29, 2012

The Secret Birthday Message: Storytime themes: Birthdays, Pirates, Directional Words, Shapes, Following Jesus

Title:  The Secret Birthday Message
Author/Illustrator:  Eric Carle
Word Density: Low
 Toddler to 8

I get really, really excited about ANY of Eric Carle's books. But I get especially happy when I find a new one (or in this case, old one.) First published in West Germany in 1971, The Secret Birthday Message is a little gem. With characteristically wonderful artwork, Carle presents a simple idea. A boy named Tim discovers a mysterious coded message in his room on his birthday-eve. In it are specific instructions for where to find his birthday present. Full of symbols, shapes, and directional words like "in," "behind," and "through," Carle uses specially-cut pages that lead the reader on a literal treasure hunt through the book. And of course, in classic Carle fashion, there's a surprise at the end of the search. A thoroughly lovely and educational presentation by my favorite author, artist, philosopher, and universal grandpa, Eric Carle.

Using this story as the basis for your lesson, choose from or combine the following themes found in this book to correspond with your current curriculum unit or lesson objectives:

Preschool themes:

1. Secret messages/Pirates.

2. Birthdays.

3. Shapes.

4. Directional words.

Christian themes:

1. Follow the Savior.

2. Jesus' Birthday.

3. The Greatest Treasure is Peace With God.

4. God's message for us.

Scripture connections:

1. Matthew 6:19-21: "Don't store treasures for yourselves here on earth where moths and rust will destroy them and thieves can break in and steal them. But store your treasures in heaven where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your treasure is." (New Century Version)

2. John 8:12: "Later, Jesus talked to the people again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. The person who follows me will never live in darkness but will have the light that gives life.'" (New Century Version)

3. Acts 10:36: "You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all." (NIV)

4. Ephesians 4:6: "[There is] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (NIV)
Song suggestions:
1. "Follow the Saviour" by Colin Buchanan from "Follow the Saviour" CD.

 "The Greatest Treasure" by Colin Buchanan, from his "Practise Being Godly" CD.

 "The Best Book to Read is the Bible" from Colin Buchanan's "Follow the Saviour" CD.

4. Song,
 "Luke, Chapter 9 Verse 23," from Colin Buchanan's "Practise Being Godly" CD.

·Enrichment: Provide a "secret message" for the children to decode. Place a bag of treats in a hidden area. Draw a map using symbols and pictures, and show it to the children. Help them decipher the map and find the treats.