Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pete and Pillar: The Big Rain

If you're having trouble finding Christian books for young boys, or if you simply want a picture book so good it could have been published by a mainstream publisher, Jeffery Stoddard's Pete and Pillar books are a great resource. In Pete and Pillar: The Big Rain, Stoddard tells the tale of two friends: Pete, a dump truck, and Pillar, a bulldozer, bearing in mind John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Pete and Pillar are considered unlikely friends "because everybody knows haulers don't talk to diggers." But the guys love each other; they often hold belching contests to see who can let out the most dark fumes. They jump start each other when their batteries die. They even scratch themselves on purpose, leaving bits of their paint on each other. Still, other pieces of heavy equipment warn Pete against Pillar - and vice versa. One truck says to Pillar, "When you really need him, he'll be gone."

Then one day, it rains hard and long. All the machines hurry home so they don't end up rusted and parked behind the shed forever. But Pete realizes the river bank may soon cave in, flooding the town below. As he struggles to push rock and earth up to the bank, he glaces up to make sure Pillar is okay. But he is gone. Pete's heart sinks.

Finally, the water stops rising, an exhausted, sad Pillar climbs out of the river. Determined to have it out with Pete, Pillar follows his friend's muddy tracks up a mountain above the town. There, he finds a dam - and Pete's smoke stack sticking up out of the mud. "Pete had sacrificed himself to save his best friend and the town."

Enlisting the help of other pieces of heavy equipment, Pillar pulls Pete out from the mud and carries him home. All the haulers and diggers scrape the mud from Pete and Pillar stays with his friend all night as "he slowly came back to life."
"From that day on, diggers and haulers in that small town worked side by side as friends. And if you listen closely to diggers and haulers working in your town, you can hear them toot their horns to each other. Yup. They're talking about Pete and Pillar. Two best friends."
What I Like: Everything! This is a sweet tale focusing on heavy equipment - something both my 4 year old and 16 month old love. Stoddard's writing is tender, funny, and strong. His illustrations, in a sketchy but colorful style, bring his character's to life. This book is a favorite in our house.
What I Dislike: Nothing, really, although I wish the actual Bible verse inspiring this story was quoted. (Only the book, chapter, and verse number are printed in the book.)
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 4 to 8, but some toddler will enjoy this book, too.
Publishing Info: Warner Press2007, ; ISBN: 978-1593172039; hardback, $12.99
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Special Info: Read our reviews of other Jeffrey Stoddard books.

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1 comment:

Tanya said...

I agree: this book is excellent! The illustrations are fantastic and full of character. My son LOVES this book.

My only complaint echos yours: I wish the spiritual foundations were made more obvious. It's a wonderful story of friendship and sacrifice, but I don't believe the book easily lends itself to a spiritual connection, one that leads to salvation -- which, with this parallel, it should.