Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Baby Baby Blah Blah Blah

Title: Baby Baby Blah Blah Blah!

Author:  Jonathan Shipton
Illustrator:  Francessca Chessa
Publisher:  Holiday House ©2009
ISBN:  978-0-8234-2213-5
Grade Level:  PreK

Book Review:   Like many young children, Emily is faced with the news that her parents are going to have another baby.  Emily loves to make lists, so she makes lists about the new baby, both the good and the bad.  Her conclusion, once the baby comes it will be all about the baby and life will no longer be all about her.  Emily is eventually convinced of the joy this baby will bring.  That is until the author suggests that one more surprise is still in store. As this book is available in Turkish, I dedicate this entry to the enthusiastic teachers with whom I had the privilege of working this summer.

Systems Thinking Connections:
Habits
:  Considers an issue fully and resists to the urge to come to a quick conclusion.  

Emily believes that once the baby comes it will only be about the baby, but through thoughtful, loving explanations and assurances from her mom and dad, Emily reconsiders and adjusts her assumptions. A very similar discussion could focus on the habit, Considers how mental models affect current reality and the future.  Emily and her parents are anticipating the same event, but each has a very different point of view about what the future holds.
Tools: Behavior Over Time Graphs (BOTG). This book includes specific language that makes it ideal for  young children to craft their own BOTG.  For example, "The baby bump grew.  And a little worry started to grow in Emily's mind.  The bigger the baby bump grew, the bigger Emily's worry grew."  This language from the text supports children's understanding of a simple dynamic:  Change over time.  Children familiar with the BOTG will be able to recognize this language and use it as inspiration for their own BOTG. Under the guidance of a sytems-focused teacher, along with some prior knowledge, children could graph a number of variables related to the pending birth of a new sibling. The actual timeline of the printed story is quite short; however, dad describes his sense of happiness over a much longer period of time.  Children could create a BOTG that spans the time before Emily was born and projects to the arrival of the new baby.  These graphs could support a genuine conversation about the story and an opportunity for children to share and graph their own experiences with the birth of younger siblings. 
This book would also be a good one for using the ladder of inference.  While the text is quite simple, it abounds with opportunities for inference.  For example, what is Emily paying attention to that leads to her beliefs about her new sibling. What are some actions she might take based on her beliefs at different moments in the story?  How do her beliefs change?  What causes that change?