From the legendary songwriter Diane Lampert, based on a musical piece she wrote with Pulitzer Prize and nine-time Grammy-winning jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, comes a beautifully illustrated folktale about how we humans got some of our...naughtier...traits, and what overcomes them all.
Mother Nature is a very busy woman. Her job is to tend to the Earth and all the creatures that dwell there—she must wake up the bulbs and warm the land in spring, then rush off to freeze the ponds and create snow in winter. However, more than anything, Mother Nature wants children of her own. So with twigs and things she made five offspring: Fear, Envy, Hate, Greed, and Fickle. She asks the most helpless of creatures—the poor, wingless humans—to watch over her children as she works. As they interact with their caretakers, her children's wild personalities begin to seep into human nature in a way that Mother Nature never intended.
A lilting, lyrical ode to all our human shortcomings and the one trait—love—that can overcome them all, this book beautifully captures the complexity of us all.
Classroom idea: act out the story, having one child (or group of children) represent each "child" in the story. Create movement and a song/sound for each character and perform as a class.
NOTE: Marsalis's "Suite for Human Nature" was never recorded for public distribution. However, this New York Times review describes the piece in detail.