About the book...
I was honoured to review The Pirate and the Firefly by Tara McClary Reeves and Amanda Jenkins, published by BH Kids. I have read several titles from this publisher and love every one of them. This book was also a blessing to our family. All three kids enjoyed the story, however, our two youngest (age 8 and 6) were most suited to the age range of the book.
The main themes of the story are wisdom and friendship. Actually, I would say the theme is also wisdom IN friendships! What does it mean to be a good friend? How do you know when another child is a good friend? What does it mean to be a leader instead of a follower? How can I follow Jesus and be a good friend? How can I stand up for what is right?
These are all questions contemplated by young Oliver as he walks through some trying situations with his group of 'pirate' friends. After the leader of the group forces the boys to do a pretty sneaky and unkind thing (stealing candy from a neighbourhood candy shop), Oliver is left feeling unhappy and uneasy about all he was dragged into that day.
The next day he has a similar experience at the "Captain" of the group's birthday party. He is made fun of, pulled into being nasty to a little girl and goes home feeling defeated and mistreated.
In the evening, however, the little "Pirate" is met by a wise Firefly who encourages him to cling to what he knows is right and question what 'good friends' truly look like. He gives advice I hope and pray will also be planted deep inside our children's hearts: "Oliver, people who want you to do things that are wrong or dangerous are not true friends. But God wants to be our best friend and He loves us more than anyone else does."
Oliver is encouraged to imagine what it would look like to follow God instead of his 'friend' who is mistreating him. He is reminded of the truth in Psalm 1, and he imagines making right all the wrong he was part of doing. (I literally teared up at this part, such a beautiful image of children being brave, standing strong, and walking with the Lord at a young age, praise God!)
I just loved the message in this book, especially as our children are started to get a bit older and starting to play more with children their age who aren't always the best influence. I want to remind them and encourage them to consider what makes a good friend. Both so that they can choose wisely their friends, and also BE a good friend!
And most importantly, so they can learn to rely on Christ as their ultimate life-long friend.
Making a Friendship Treasure Map
I love the PARENT Connection features in so many of the titles from this publisher. These are sections that connect the content and theme of the book to scripture, activities, and discussion questions.
The PARENT Connection for this book (printed on the last page) included the following sections:
- Remember: review Psalm 1:1-2 for memory work
- Read: a selection from Samuel about the friendship David and Jonathan shared
- Think: several questions about friendship and how it relates to Christ and God's Word
- Do: A Friendship Treasure Map activity
I'm sharing our Friendship Treasure Map activity below:
For the Treasure Hunt, I started by simply writing several adjectives to describe a good friend on cardstock index cards. I used words like: caring, kind, gentle, honest, patient, etc. I then gave them colors according to each of my three children. Pink for Audrey, blue for Alex, green for Simon. These were for the purpose of giving them specific cards to search for, rather than competing with one another for the same cards.
Early in the morning I sketched a basic map of our backyard and then hid the index cards all over the yard. I put "X" on the map in the colours for each child (Simon's were trickier than Alex's).
In the afternoon, the kids got to look at the Treasure Map and search for their cards. Once they found them, we piled them up, read them, and had a chat about what truly makes a good friend. It was a fun activity for them and I believe it really stimulated good conversation and thinking!
Love the last line in this sweet book:
There's no better friend than Jesus, and His way is always the best choice!
Thanks for reading!