Name of Book: Snook Alone
Author: Marilyn Nelson
Audience: Ages 4-8
Summary: A small dog, Snook, lives on and island with Abba Jacob, a monk. Abba prays, gardens, and tends his hermitage while Snook follows along. They are best of friends. Then one day a storm comes up and leaves Snook alone on an island. There he fends for himself all the while waiting for his friend to return. When they are finally reunited, there is the happiness that is only known when hope is fulfilled.
Literary elements at work in the story: This could have been a sappy sentimental story, but in the hands of Nelson and Ering it is instead a perceptive story of waiting and hope. Written without a hint of contrivance, this is just a story about a dog waiting for his friend and a friend’s joy at finding his dog.
How do the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story: This story carries the universal theme of love and hope and will appeal to all.
Theology: Romans 8: 24-30. “But hope that is seen is no hope at all” Snook is a good example of this passage. After he is separated from the Monk, he has to find his own way rather than follow the Monk’s way. Yet even with this new life he is not happy as he does not have his friend. He hopes for what he does not know; if he will ever see his friend again. So he waits patiently his friends return. He doesn’t scream or shout or condemn God or the world, he just waits patiently. Would that we all could wait patiently for what we hope will come! Do not let anxiety and fear crowd out patience. Instead live with hope.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Why were Snook and his friend separated?
- Have you ever been separated from someone, a friend, mom, dad?
- How did it feel?
- What did you do to find your way back?
- The Bible verse says we are to hope for what we do not yet have. Were you hopeful when you were separated?
- Why is hope so important?
Filed under: Book Reviews, Books written for Grades 1 -3 (Ages 6-8), Faith Questions For...., Older Elementary, Picture Books, Young Children, Younger Elementary | Tagged: dog, Friendship, Hope, loneliness, monk, separation | Leave a Comment »