Despite our differences, we are one in Christ and loved by God.
Name: The Reptile Club
Author: Maureen Fergus
Illustrator: Elina Ellis
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2018
Written for Ages: 5-7
Summary: Rory can’t find a club at school that is right for him. His parents suggest he start a club for something he loves. So, Rory starts a Reptile Club. On the first meeting, no one shows up. Rory waits and waits and waits. And then, there is someone at the door. A crocodile, an anaconda, and a gecko. The four start the club meeting, and when the other kids see what the Reptile Club is all about, they want to join too. In one scene, the reptiles do not want to let mammals join the club. Rory points out that he is a mammal and “it wasn’t nice to be prejudiced against others just because they had hair and could regulate their body temperature.” Rory has red-orange hair and wears glasses. He knows about being different.
Scripture Connection: In Acts 10 Peter has this strange dream where a sheet unfolds before him with animals that are not traditionally eaten. Three times Peter is told to get up, kill, and eat. Peter, wanting to do the right thing, rejects the command. Upon waking, he realizes that the dream was a message from God to carry the Gospel to Gentiles. James 2:1-13 gives a clear warning against discrimination. James calls out the faith community for their acts of favoritism, favoring those who are more like them than those who are not. Paul in Galatians 3:28 declares that in Christ, there is no slave or free, no male or female, no Jew or Greek. We are one in Christ Jesus.
Theological Connection: In the Kingdom of God there is no distinction between the members of the Body of Christ. Everyone is a child of God. It is by the love of God that we are able to unite in the midst of disunity. In Christ, the old divisions are gone, there is now only oneness in Christ.
Justice Connection: Discrimination can come in various different forms. It is racism, sexism, ageism. In fact any “ism” you can think of. We see it in our politics, schools, workplace, communities, and even in the church. It is within the Christian community that James is participating concerned about. Why? Because as followers of Christ, we know better.
Faith Talk (God Talk):
- What kind of club would you start?
- How do you think Rory felt when no one showed up at first?
- How did Rory respond to the reptiles?
- What kind of reptile is your favorite?
- Why is it hard to welcome everyone?
Parenting Connection: Some children will speak without a filter. They will name differences between them and other children. These moments present opportunities to remind children that differences are okay and that we are all loved by God.
Rory’s parents encourage Rory to start his own club when there is none that he likes. This kind of encouragement is important for children to embrace their passions and innovative ideas.
You can buy a copy at Amazon or check out your local library.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.