Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Precious and the Boo Hag - Halloween & Childhood Fears

Title: Precious and the Boo Hag, by Patricia C. McKissack and Onawumi Jean Moss

Word Density: Moderate

My recommended age-appropriateness: Preschool to 12

Preschool Themes:
1. Scary Stories.
2. African-American stories.
3. Being Brave.
4. Halloween.
5. Doing what is right.

Christian Themes:
1. Obedience.
2. Evil can come like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
3. Fear.
4. Spiritual authority in Jesus.

Precious is a strong-willed and imaginative child left at home alone while her family is out in the fields working. She's had a sick stomach and as a result, is left home to recuperate and do some light chores. Her mother admonishes Precious to stay out of her stuff, keep the place neat, and. above all, "don't let nothing and nobody in this house!" But Precious's brother sees an opportunity to have some fun. He warns her that there's a Boo Hag lurking around that will do anything "to make you disobey yo' mama." Suspicious of the truth to her brother's claims, and nearly reassured by a precocious friend who pops by, Precious begins poking around in her mother's best clothes and having a marvelous time having the house all to herself. It doesn't take too long, though, for an uninvited guest to try to come in. Precious rallies herself, and in a test of character that would make her mama proud, the little girl discerns and foils every evil trick the Boo Hag tries on her. The story ends with a victorious, if slightly scary, note. The delightful deep-South African-American diction and the beautiful and original mixed-media illustrations combine with a fun and playfully frightening tale to make Precious and the Boo Hag a fun addition to any storytime.

Scripture connections:
1. Romans 16:19 (New Century Version) "All the believers have heard that you obey, so I am very happy because of you. But I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil."
2. Matthew 7:15 (New Century Version) "Be careful of false prophets. They come to you looking gentle like sheep, but they are really dangerous like wolves."
3. Joshua 1:9 (NIV) "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
4. Luke 10:19 (NKJV) "Behold, I give you the authority... over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

Song Suggestions:
1. "Be Strong and Courageous" by Colin Buchanan from his "Jesus Rocks the World" CD. Published by Wanaaring Road Music.
2. "You Got to Do What the Lord Says" by Colin Buchanan from his "Follow the Saviour" CD. Published by Wanaaring Road Music. Hear samples and view ordering information at Word Australia.
3. "God Is Bigger Than the Boogeyman" by Veggie Tales.    

Let the children draw pictures of their own "Boo Hags," and "boogeymen." Reassure them that this lesson teaches them to NOT be afraid. Give each child your chosen Bible verse and let them paste it onto the bottom of their creations.