Book A Day: One Potato, Two Potato

I dunno about you, but one of my greatest delights is finding a book to read to children that is a wonderful, rich, interesting story and lends itself to a quality conversation, piece of inspired writing, or, even – dare I suggest it – some math.

Enter One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice, illustrated by Andrea U’Ren. Mr. and Mrs. O’Grady are so poor they share a coat, a bed, a chair, and a blanket. They even share their single potato they allot themselves to eat each day. One day, Mr. O’Grady, as he digs for their daily potato, unearths a large pot; one thing leads to another, and the O’Gradys soon discover it is a magic pot: if you put something into it (say, a potato), you’ll get another exactly like it.

Throw in two hairpins, and you’ll find four in the pot! They wind up duplicating quite a few items – and in the end, quite by accident, they replicate themselves!

Read this aloud to a group of children, and just watch their imaginations run wild! Inevitably, they start questioning the O’Grady’s final choices, and they also will – I promise you – let you know exactly what they would throw into such a magic pot! It’s a longer story book, but worth the time, as it is such a thought-provoking, imaginative tale.

Go find a copy in the library and keep reading,

Possible Extensions:

~ Children will likely be all too excited to dream up what they would place into the magic pot – go ahead, have that conversation! Then, ask them to draw or write what they would like to see doubled – make them explain why.

~ Want an easy way to spring into a little math with some buy-in from your peeps? This story is perfect for that! If you throw 6 flowers into the magic pot, how many will you get? So many possibilities for an extended lesson (or practice) in some multiplication!

~ (Spoiler Alert) At the end of the story, the O’Gradys decide to bury the pot for someone else to find. If ever there was a perfect writing prompt! Write your own story of you digging up the pot! Or, a cast of characters you create to uncover the magic pot – tons of wonderful possibilities!

Contact me at fplweb (at) frontporchlibrarian dot com

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