Two mothers. Two children. A love that searches high and low. And the celebration of lost ones who are found.
Author: Robert McCloskey
Illustrator: Robert McCloskey
Age Range: 3-7
If you are a parent and have lost track of your child for even a minute, you can relate to the mothers at the center of the story Blueberries for Sal. Last week I experienced the panic attack that arises when your child is nowhere to be found. We were at a community event checking out a few of the booths for kids with our 3 boys. Our two year old won a cupcake at the cake walk. I remember seeing him at the cupcake table. I turned away and in a split second, he was gone. Where could he be? Why didn't I go with him to get the cupcake? Has anyone seen my child?
At that moment, I was willing to do anything to be reunited with my child. Because that's what love requires of us. We search for our loved ones. Thankfully, our two year old hadn't made it far. I scooped him up and gave him a hug like I hadn't seen him in a year. He had his cupcake...and candy...and whatever else he wanted that day.
Blueberries for Sal is a story of reunion. Sal is lost. Baby Bear is lost. The mothers go searching for their loved ones. Each mother hears the familiar sound of their children. And when the children are found, lots of blueberries are eaten. In the end, there are blueberries for Sal. Of course Sal gets some blueberries. We celebrate when lost things are found.
The final illustration from Robert McCloskey says it all for me. It's a picture of Sal and her mother at home. They are canning blueberries together. The house is messy. The windows are open. Neither Sal or her mother are looking at each other. Sal is standing on a chair helping her mom in the kitchen. In this final scene, one word describes these characters: peaceful. They are together again and they are home.
Why Read This Book?
Beauty and truth fill this story like blueberries fill Sal's bucket. It is a truth that Jesus tells through three very similar stories.
A shepherd leaves his 99 sheep behind to find the one that left.
A woman sweeps her house to secure the coin she lost.
A father waits at his doorstep for his son to return home.
In all of these stories, there is a celebration when the lost thing is found. There is peace in reunion.
Listen to Jesus' words in Luke:
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
I want my kids to encounter stories of reunion because God is in the reunion business. He searched for us when we were the ones that had wandered off. He knew where we were by our familiar sound. And he has the blueberries ready for us when we return home.
Check it out at your local library or add it to your family bookshelf.
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