Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wolf Island

Title:  Wolf Island

Author:  Celia Godkin
Illustrator:  Celia Godkin
Publisher:  Fitzhery & Whiteside, ©1993, 2006
ISBN:  978-1-55455-008-1
Grade Level:  2-5

Book Review:  Wolf Island ends with the line, "Life on the island was back in balance."  An ecosystem is a prime example of balancing feedback.  Celia Godkin creates a very plausible piece of fiction that illustrates the reality of what happens when a key species is removed from the ecosystem. Beautiful illustrations and clearly written text offer readers an accurate portrayal of an ecosystem that falls out of balance, along with the repercussions to a variety of the native species.

Systems Thinking Connections
Habits:  Identifies the circular nature of complex cause and effect relationships.  The classic habit for looking at reinforcing and balancing feedback, Wolf Island offers a well defined explanation of how an ecosystem is a complex set of relationships that make up a natural system.
Recognizes a system's structure generates its behavior.  By creating a fictionalized story based on a real system, the text helps illustrate how a small change in the structure can have a clear pervasive effect on the system.
Tools:  Students will be able to build a well-structured connection circle from the text in this book. The text lends itself to the language of identifying causal connections.  For example, as the deer on the island increase the grasses on the island decrease.  As the grasses decrease, the mice decrease because they do have enough to eat.