Barclay and Berk Builders: a parable

Joey is a huge fan of anything involving tools, equipment and building. Barclay and Berk Builders: a parable caught his attention with a story about two guys hammering and digging and measuring. What I love about this story is the lesson behind it—a lesson that he might absorb as we read this book over and over again at bedtime.

Barclay and Berk Builders: a parable retold by Beverley Rayner illustrated by James Hensmann

I received this book for review courtesy of the author; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Barclay and Berk Builders plot summary

Barclay and Berk are both builders and good friends. They’ve built a lot of things together, but now, they each need to build a home. Just as each of them is different, they each dream about building a different sort of house. Barclay wants a big house with a bright yellow door and turret on top. Berk wants a fireplace and a swinging cat door for his place.

They begin looking for places to build. Barclay finds his location right away: a beautiful beach with seagulls swooping past. He begins building as Berk continues looking here and there. Each place is “not quite right.” Barclay gets his excavator and digs his basement. Berk finally finds a place for his house: on top of a rocky cliff. He begins to jackhammer holes for his foundation.

Slowly, the two builders work away at their homes. Barclay’s goes up quickly, while Berk works more slowly, constantly muttering “not quite right” and adjusting what he’s doing. Finally, as the weather gets colder, both houses are done. They visit each other and celebrate with a game of Scrabble.

Just before Christmas, a huge storm rolls over the shore. Berk and his wife drink hot chocolate by their crackling fire. Barclay listens to his home rattle, and rip, and groan. Grabbing his raincoat, he runs for Berk’s place. In the darkness, he hears a shattering sound behind him; his house has fallen apart. He spends the night sleeping on a blanket by the fireplace as the storm howls above.

In the morning, the builders wake up to see the damage done by the storm. Berk’s house stands, strong and steady on the rock cliff. Barclay’s house is smashed to pieces on the beach below. All that’s left is his yellow door. Berk offers to help him star over—”together, we can build a strong foundation. When we’re finished, your new home will be just right!”

A Parable for Children

Barclay and Berk Builders is a cute retelling of a parable Jesus told in the Gospel of Matthew. The parable about the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand is short and easy to remember. In this children’s picture book, Beverly Rayner gives character to each of these builders. We can see how each of us might be like Berk or Barclay, wanting either a big fancy house or a snug small house, wanting things done quickly or being willing to work slowly and carefully.

The illustrations by James Hensmen are bright and funky, as the cover shows. Look for the seagull on nearly page. Joey really loved the picture of the excavator as Barclay digs his basement. For any little boy who likes building things, this is a perfect book. Sometimes, it does take more time to build a firm foundation, but Barclay and Berk Builders show that it’s worth taking that time.

More about Beverley Rayner

Beverley is a children’s library facilitator who knows that books and children are a perfect combination! She has written magazine articles and online devotionals for Power to Change. Beverley has worked in schools extensively for the past eighteen years and has presented literacy talks to district and library staff at the Lethbridge Library conference. She’s also the author of The Face of Courage: Edith Cavell Story. She lives in Ladysmith, British Columbia.

Find out more about Beverley by visiting her website or following her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or LinkedIn.

Barclay and Berk Builders is available at Amazon, Walmart, and your favourite kids’ bookstore.

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