Author: Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Illustrator: Joani Keller Rothenberg
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Audience: Ages 5-adult
Summary: The people of Chelm have no luck. The roofs leaked, the sidewalks cracked, weeds grew in the gardens. The people looked for luck everywhere. But because they could not find any luck, they gave up. “They stopped building houses, they delayed repairing sidewalks, and quit planting gardens.” One day a mysterious woman appears and tells the people that there is something better than hope. She tells the people to gather in the town square the next morning and to capture butterflies of hope under their hats. Although the townspeople are not sure that hope is better than luck, they gather and see a cloud of butterflies land on the ground. Gently they cover the butterflies with hats of all types and descriptions. But rain begins and turns quickly to a downpour. The people need their hats, but the butterflies fly away as the hats are picked up. Now the people have no luck and no hope. The mysterious woman leads them to discover that hope has been under their hats all along. Now, even though life is not perfect, the people are happy and hopeful.
Literary Elements at work in the story: Having hope rather than looking for luck is the theme of this colorful book. The story is original but was inspired by a Jewish folktale.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability: This book is gender/race/culture neutral. The characters happen to be Caucasian in the drawings, but could be any race.
Scripture: I Peter 1:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:16, Hebrews 6:19, Hebrews 7:19, Hebrews 11:1
Theology: Hope and faith
Faith Talk Questions:
- Is hope better than luck? Explain.
- When the people thought they had lost their luck, they didn’t build or repair or plant gardens. Why? When they had hope, they built and repaired and planted. Why?
- What gives you hope? Will you have hope even if you never cover butterflies with hats? Explain.
Review prepared by Mary Anne Welch