I’m taking this opportunity to plug a book that I love and have loved for a long time and recommend all the time because a revamped edition came out recently. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a book that gets picked up all that much by student-teachers.
God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant was originally published in 2003 and has just a major overhaul. It’s been reissued as God Got a Dog now published with beautiful illustrations by Marla Frazee. This edition doesn't include all the poems found in the first book, reordering those remaining and with a few pronouns tweaked here and there. Overall, I liked the changes but deep down had hoped that this was going to be a new collection with continuing adventures for God.
This book tells what it would be like if God came to Earth and lived as real men, women or children of various races. Each of these perspectives is reflected throughout the book to emphasize that God is to be found everywhere and in all of us whether as a lonely woman eating a spaghetti dinner, discovering cable TV for the first time, a teenage boy suffering with a cold or a black man named Jim, who loves to paint nails.
It’s an irreverent often humorous look at the ‘culture shock’ of being human, but also celebrates the many wonders of the world or reflects on the simple moments that compose ordinary lives.
Not being overly religious, I appreciate the breezy, cheeky tone of the book, but I know there will be those out there who will reject it for just that reason. This God lives among people by living as one of us. The illustrations are not overly elaborate and compliment the text beautifully with just a touch of lyricism.
Because it’s about God I wonder how teachers would or could use this book as it potentially could be contentious with parents, community, or school boards. Great for a poetry unit but I worry that it doesn't make it into classrooms all that often.
I recommend this for grades 3 and up.
Some of my favorite lines:
From: God went to the doctor –
And the doctor said, "You don't need me, You're God."And God said, "Well, you're pretty good at playing me, I figured you'd know what the problem was.From: God caught a cold-
And He was such a baby. He NEVER caught colds. He loved to brag about it. And now here He was snot nosed. It's hard to be authoritative with a cold. It's hard to thunder 'THOU SHALT NOT!' when it comes out 'THOU SHALT DOT!' Nobody takes him seriously.
From: God made spaghetti –
And She didn't have a ceiling so She tried to make it stick to Jupiter but that just vaporized the noodle, so God decided to HAVE FAITH it was cooked al dente.