Title: What If Everybody Did That?
Author: Ellen Javernick
Classification: Fiction with moral
Themes: responsibility, consequences
What’s it about?
This is the story of a boy who does things without thinking and constantly gets asked to think about “What if everybody did that?”. At the end of the book he goes inside his house and hugs his mum saying “What if everybody did that?”
The repetition of the title phrase is good for engaging students as it is predictable. It includes relatable situations (besides the zoo) that many children can make connections with. The illustrations are age appropriate for grades 3-5 which can be difficult to find resources for.
Did he learn from it all or just ignore the question? I don’t know, it doesn’t say. The cover is a little deceptive (see my thoughts below). It is very long for most students to keep their attention.
If you are thinking of using this book for environmental views – don’t. I’ll admit that I purchased this book based on other blogs and websites that recommended it for recycling studies – but I am going to dare to assume that all those people were basing their opinion on the book’s cover and not the actual contents…and I fell for it.
Looking at the cover I assumed it was about getting students to think about the impact of dropping that one piece of rubbish, not recycling that one aluminium can, etc. In actual fact only one page (that one pictured on the cover) actually looks at the environment. The rest deal with restaurants, zoos, sport…basically I got a book that I couldn’t use for the purpose I purchased it for.
It’s not a dreadful book, it does have a moral behind it and I think that in some classrooms students may even benefit from looking at the perspective that it isn’t just about what they do but what many people do. I’ve had the book for three years…maybe one day I will use it.
My recommendation is to borrow it first and see if it is what you need for your lesson – just remember that it won’t suit activities for Earth Day.