Megha chose this book. The title came at a good time when I am thinking about where we are going with the program, how much we have achieved, how we will support the work further and a general feeling of ‘can this get worse’?
But it was a good book choice. The book has what i define as a defining quality of a good picture book, two narratives that run side by side, the textual and the visual. The illustrations are captivating and draw the reader in. Every character is animated quite specially and then the repetitive phrase comes alive on every page ‘ It could have been worse!’.
It interested me that in planning for this session, Krystal and Megha had strong views on what message the story might leave with the children. I wondered if in my intensity about story themes, planning etc we have lost sight of a story being a story . A good book somehow brings that home, It Could Have Been Worse, kept the story magic alive and the children loved the episodes that Mouse goes through and ‘near misses’ he have.
Since the book does present animals who want to eat little Mouse with an interesting twist in the end, Megha planned a food chain written activity and I think it was one of our better extension ideas.
With the time, I can see that the children are now thinking and constructing ideas about what they can do. It took some repeated instruction to remind them about the sequence of who eats what and whom, but they got it and quite wonderfully.
We also as always learn from the children and their context. Mice do not eat just cheese but good stuff like tomatoes and even frocks! Cats eat lizards and one earnest boy tried hard to convince me that he saw a dog eat a cat. It was so good to hear Aftaab intervene and explain that bite/fight/chase is not about eating, but about fighting . There was active learning. and I was so glad, that it can only get better.