Saturday, May 08, 2010

Earth Mother by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon

In this beautifully illustrated story, Earth Mother walks through the times of the day and through the seasons, her flowing robes reflecting each. Man thanks for her frog, which fills his belly, but wonders why she sent mosquito to torment him. Frog thanks her for sending tasty mosquito to give him life, but wonders why she sent man to catch him. Mosquito thanks her for man, but wonders why she sent frog who has already eaten most of his sisters. Each says that the world would be perfect if only she got rid of one of the others. At the end, as Earth Mother says good night to all her children, she goes to sleep knowing that "the world, in its own way, was perfect."

This year, I used this story for Earth Day, after my unit on folk tales. Before reading the story, I asked my students (Grades 2-5) to think about why I might choose to share this one for Earth Day. In some classes, when I get to Frog telling Earth Mother that man is "Bad, bad, bad", after having just heard man say the same about Mosquito, they start to chuckle as they recognize the pattern. Some classes "get it" right away--some take a little prompting with: "Have you heard the terms "Food Chain", "Food Web" or "Life Cycle"?

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