Butterfly Effect

You’ve heard of the butterfly effect popularized in the 1980’s that a butterfly fluttering in Rio de Janeiro can effect the weather in Chicago. This chaos theory simply explains how any one small act can have greater influence even thousand of miles away. In his new picture book Because, Mo Willems shows how influence can happen even hundreds of years later.




written by Mo Willems

illustrated by Amber Ren

published by Hyperion Books for Children, 2019

Because of a sequence of events starting with Beethoven’s music, a young girl becomes a conductor and influences someone else. Moving from big picture to a singular moment, a series of chance, luck, and hard work demonstrate how nothing happens in isolation.

The sweet story inside the series of events is about a young girl who goes to a symphony with her aunt because her uncle came down with a cold and couldn’t attend. There in Row C Seat 14, the girl is changed. Years later, seated in Row C Seat 14, the girl’s uncle is seated in the grand hall for her premiere symphony #1 entitled “The Cold”.

5 stars

In addition to being a wonderful story, this book is so perfect for learning about cause and effect. Not only are there influential causes like being inspired to learn music because you’ve heard exquisite music (Shubert is inspired by Beethoven’s music, the girl is inspired by Shurbert’s music, and someone else is inspired by the girl/now woman’s music), but there are so many other examples of causation including because the usher helped them find their seats, beacause someone created a poster tickets were sold, because workers swept the floor the grand hall was ready, and because she was very lucky she was discovered.


This book would pair perfectly with Laura Seegar’s Why? why

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