Making familiar Bible stories come alive for children can be a real challenge. After the third or fourth reading, a Bible storybook about characters such as Moses and Pharaoh, Joseph and his brothers, or David and Goliath may have lost some appeal for the young elementary gang.
Author Joel Anderson piques the interest of these readers in his series, Mr. Grungy's Seek and Find Bible Stories, by using rhymed text and illustrations created from trash, junk, and ordinary household items. Following the earlier success of the first in the series, Jonah's Trash . . . God's Treasure, comes his latest title David and the Trash-Talkin' Giant. Mr. Grungy opens the book holding a box full of such ephemera. Then, using simple, rhymed text, he tells the familiar story of the shepherd boy who killed the Philistine giant with a single, well-aimed stone. The story stops short of mentioning that David beheaded Goliath after he falls, and the giant's trashy talk is more braggadocio than foul, so parents have nothing to fear if they are reading the book to young pre-schoolers. But there's plenty to intrigue young readers in the unusual artwork, which may remind them of the popular I Spy books. As they follow the directions given in a Trash and Treasure Hunt verse, they will have to look hard among the peanuts, paper clips, phone cords, candles, pennies, peas, salt shakers, socks, and such in order to find the different items called for on each spread. Mr. Grungy closes the book with final instructions for a last hunt among the items in his box, including a photo of Anderson and Goolsby.
David and the Trash-Talkin' Giant may have more appeal for boys, especially those who are sports enthusiasts. (David's head is a golf ball, while Goliath sports a split baseball head atop a football body.) On the other hand, girls may be inspired to try their hand at creating scenes, biblical or otherwise, from trinkets and trash. At least, they might pick up their rooms!(Ages 4 and up)Etta Wilson is a children's book enthusiast in Nashville, Tennessee.