William Steig uses a donkey character in his book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, to teach subjects on magic, relationships, weather, seasons, and the animal kingdom. The author introduces the topic of changing weather patterns early in the book; this is where Sylvester comes across the shiny pebble, on that day it was raining, so Sylvester wished the rain would stop. Suddenly, the sky had cleared, and it was sunny. This is an example of how the book covers the topic of weather and seasons change, from a rainy moment to a sunny one.
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This book can be effective in a Science lesson due to the author covers weather and seasonal changes, the characteristics of living things and their interdependence. The lion in the story had intended to eat Sylvester. For the lion to survive, he relies on other animals as a source of food. Steig later twists the subject to include some characteristics of animals; this is when Sylvester turns into a rock out of fear for the lion. He can no longer perform the actions he could have done earlier as an animal such as move, touch, feel, and communicate. This will assist the learner to distinguish the characteristics of living things and non living things as the story brings in a clearer picture of the two. There is the mention of different seasons in the book; this is when Sylvester turns into a rock, and this mention can aid the student to remember the seasons in the order in which they occur.
The story falls into both the Organisms and Environments and Earth and Space science strand due to the writer covers the topics of living and non living organisms, and at the same time focuses on the changing weather patterns.
The book develops the skill of analyses and investigation which is essential in insight into the prediction of the expected weather and seasonal changes. Moreover, it develops the skill critical thinking which helps the student gain a wider knowledge of all aspects of living things and organisms.
William Steig is a well-celebrated author who has other published works which include The Lonely Ones, Small Fry, and The Rejected Lovers among other equally good books.
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