Grades K to Grade 3
Scholastic Press, 2002
A young boy named Nikolai seeks the answers to three essential questions. He immediately turns to his three animal friends and asks them: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?
This book teaches that it truly depends on who you ask. How will the answers of a heron, a monkey, and a dog differ? Which answer is best? Can everyone be right?
This book supports many thinking processes and skills that are used in dealing with complex environmental issues. Consider using this book to explore:
- Systems thinking – Challenge students to explore the different perspectives of each animal character. Why might they have answered in the way that they did?
- Formulating questions – Invite students to come up with their own 3 essential questions. What would they most like to know?
- Decision making – Ask students to explore Nikolai’s decision to help the turtle and the panda. Would they have done the same?
- Interpreting – Encourage students to identify the moral of the story. Can they retell it using their own words?
Couple this story with the exploration of environmental issues using the following PLT activities:
Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood:
# 9 – To Be a Tree
# 10 – Trees as Habitats
# 11 – Three Cheers for Trees
PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide:
# 18 – Tale of the Sun
# 74 – People, Places, Things
# 77 – Trees in Trouble
# 86 – Our Changing World
# 94 – By the Rivers of Babylon