Children are naturally selfish creatures. For the most part. Mine most certainly are. It’s always lovely to find stories that allows children to identify selfish behaviour and provide a springboard for parents to discuss selfish behaviour and encourage kindness and consideration for others.
We have been having these discussions in our house lately and there have been three books that the children have not only enjoyed, but have also allowed us to talk through important life issues with.
Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey is a new book released by Scholastic Press in July for $16.99
(Although at the moment it’s priced at $15.00 if you can find a school or centre with a scholastic book club to support.) Also, Scholastic has a Pig the Pug Colouring-In Competition if you have a child who likes to colour!
Pig is a pug dog who is greedy and selfish in most every way. He lives in an apartments with a sausage dog named Trevor. Trev seems like a very amiable guy, unlike Pug who flips his wig over the thought of sharing toys, piling the toys up to deny any access.
Unfortunately in his efforts to keeping the toys as MINE, Pig fall out the window, which is unfortunate because, “Well, pigs cannot fly.” My favourite line in the book, which unfortunately the children don’t ‘get’.
I think my 8 year old now understands with a long winded explanation. So, unfortunately Pig was a pug that had to learn his lessons the hard way.
Questions that we have explored with the kids:
Another clever book that examines selfishness is King Pig by Nick Bland.
(Scholastic Press, June 2013, RRP. $24.99, but you can find it in the current Wombat Scholastic book club for $12.50) King Pig is King over a flock of sheep. He literally walks all over them.
Although the long suffering sheep comply to King Pig’s demands, King Pig is disgruntled. They don’t adore him. King Pig sets about to make the sheep adore him, to no avail.
Finally, after a gentle challenge to try being nice, King Pig feels something he’s never felt before, he felt sorry. After this revelation he tries to make amends, which wasn’t perfect, but the sheep agreed it was a pretty good start. This was a hilarious read, and in true Nick Bland style, the illustrations were brilliant and captivating.
Questions we analysed with the children:
Boa’s Bad Birthday by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross was released in June and is a Koala Book from Scholastic Australia, with a RRP of $14.99.
Unlike the previous two stories, the central character is not selfish at all. In fact, if I was Boa’s Mummy, I would be proud of him indeed. (And if you read the story, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that Boa’s Mummy has some pretty solid parenting strategies herself.) It’s Boa’s birthday and he is very excited to get many gifts from his friends. Unfortunately they all turn out to be poorly thought out gifts that don’t suit Boa at all. (For instance, how does a snake play a piano when he has no fingers, wear sunglasses when they slip off because he has no ears or nose, kick a football when he has no feet!)
It turned out that it was Boa’s worst birthday ever, all his gifts were rubbish. In time he discovered that dung beetle’s gift turned out to unexpectedly be the best gift ever. Which is why you should always thank people for gifts that stink, because you never know if it’s going to turn out to be a really great gift!
This story arrived the timing was perfect for when this book arrived in our house. It was prior to Jonty’s 8th Birthday, and we read it together and discussed
the morals that the story presented quite thoroughly. I’m afraid my children have been known to be ungrateful on the odd occasion after receiving presents they didn’t appreciate. We have often tried to talk about gratefulness and not being selfish prior to gifts being given before, but I don’t think the message has ever been delivered as effectively as it was when accompanied by this story.
Today I’m linking up with Eva at the Multi Tasking Mummy.