Thursday, June 4, 2015

When the Wind Blows

Title:  When the Wind Blows

Author:  Linda Booth Sweeney
Illustrator:  Jana Christy
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam's Sons ©2015
ISBN:  978-0-399-16015-8
Grade Level:  PreK-2
Book Review:  What happens when the wind blows?  In this story when the wind blows, something magical happens.  Through a series of exquisitely articulated two-word sentences readers experience wind beginning with a gentle breeze, escalating into a full blown thunder storm and then laying as evening comes. Beautiful in its simplicity the book illustrates the effect of wind and it challenges the reader to examine his feelings about this often maligned element of weather.  The story offers a wonderful opportunity for readers to experience descriptive writing, not through flowery modifiers, but rather a series of carefully chosen sensory images.  When the Wind Blows is a masterful combination of elegance and simplicity, power and whimsy--not unlike the wind.
Systems Thinking Connections:
Habits:  Recognizes that a systems structure generates its behavior. Each phrase in the story illustrates the effect of wind on a different part of the system.  Paired with this Habit of a Systems Thinker card (left), teachers and students can create a wealth of connections with this habit.  
Considers how mental models affect current reality and the future.  Beliefs and attitudes affect our perspectives.  Wind is often labeled as an unpopular weather element.  The characters in this story have a very different view, embracing the change in weather and making the very best of the blustery conditions.  Their response to a windy day would be a great conversation starter connected to the reader's thoughts and feelings about the wind.
Tools:  The book illustrates with profound simplicity the dynamic intensity of the wind.  Even very young children could use a behavior over time graph to show the change in the wind.  Great vocabulary could be developed when building the y-axis:  breezy, gusty, blustery, and squally to name a few.

Bonus a parents guide is available for this book can be accessed at http://www.lindaboothsweeney.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/When-The-Wind-Blows-Guide.pdf