Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Thank You Dish

The Thank You Dish
written and illustrated by Trace Balla
2017 (Kane Miller)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

"Well, I'm thanking the alpaca for the wool, so that Auntie Amber could knit the scarf... that kept Uncle Fred from freezing when he caught the fish," said Grace.

Mama gives a big thank you to "the rain, the soil, and the sunshine" as she and Grace get ready to enjoy a supper of fish and vegetables with a slice of lemon. Their tiny Australian house is in a large field with a fruit tree, a garden, and several kangaroos. Grace thanks the kangaroos for the supper. How are the kangaroos responsible for dinner? Well, they didn't eat all of the carrots. Leo also needs to be thanked. He provided the ladder which led to Grace picking lemons from Lily's tree. The fish? An alpaca is responsible for them. Yes, I know that alpacas don't fish, but they do provide wool that Auntie Amber can turn into a scarf which in turn keeps Uncle Fred from getting too cold when he catches the fish. Grace realizes that it takes a community to make a dinner happen. When you understand what had to happen to put food on a plate, that tends to increase the gratitude level. It can also cause one to think about what it takes to produce anything and how we need to cherish all of the links in these chains.

The Thank You Dish is a great lesson in gratitude. Take time to be thankful. It's also a nice mentor text for teaching the skill of  cause and effect. I would contrast it with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Both of these books actually show a bigger picture about how nothing in life happens on its own and we're constantly in a state of cause and effect. I also think there's a discussion to be had about sustainability. We have to take care of our resources or other things might be eliminated. When you grow your own food, you see the sequence of growing and what it takes to produce food. You might think that connecting an alpaca and a fish is a bit of a stretch, but it humorously drives home the point that life is full of amazing connections. You and your class will want to connect with the Thank You Dish. 

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