Picture Books Teach

CBS News has some study results that will not surprise any of us: Picture Books Really Do Teach Toddlers. I know that this is one of those, well duh! moments, but I do think that it is wonderful when studies support what we all intuitively know.
So, keep on reading to those kids! Whether they are 18-30 months old or not!

One Potato, Two Potato

One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia C. DeFelice, pictures by Andrea U’Ren.

This is the story of an old couple who live in absolute poverty with only one chair, one coat to share between them, one blanket, one gold coin, and each day only one potato to eat.  When they run out of potatoes in the garden, the old man digs deeper hoping to find one, but all he finds is an old pot.  He places the last potato inside as he carries the pot back to the house.  But when he gets home, his wife finds that there are now 2 potatoes inside the pot.  The magical pot will duplicate anything placed inside.  Soon they have two tattered coats, two thin blankets, and many potatoes.  When the wife remembers the coin and they make copies, the husband heads to town to buy new things for them.  But it can never be quite that easy in fairy tales and the next twist will have children gasping.

Some picture books with this many words will bore children, but not this one.  The language is fresh, keeping the story vivid and wonderful.  I always enjoy when a storyteller allows her own love of language to come across in a book.  Add to it the illustrations with their vintage cartoon feel, and you have a great book for reading aloud to children from kindergarten through second grade. 

National Book Award Winner

National Book Awards have been announced and the winner of the Young People’s Literature award is M.T. Anderson for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol I: The Pox Party. I have a copy at the top of my to-read pile and am looking forward to it!