The Full Belly Bowl

( 2 )


Dear Friend, the tiny note reads,
In appreciation of your kindness and generosity,
I leave you this Full Belly Bowl.
You need never know hunger again.
Use it wisely or it will be a burden.
To empty, pour it out.
When not in use, store it upside down and out of reach of ...

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Dear Friend, the tiny note reads,
In appreciation of your kindness and generosity,
I leave you this Full Belly Bowl.
You need never know hunger again.
Use it wisely or it will be a burden.
To empty, pour it out.
When not in use, store it upside down and out of reach of children.

"What on earth is a Full Belly Bowl?" the very old man wonders — but he soon finds out. No matter how much he eats from it, the bowl magically refills itself. For the first time in a long time, the old man isn't hungry. Then he discovers that the bowl can refill itself with other things — even his one copper coin — and now it looks like he'll never want for anything again!
His excitement makes him careless, however, and as he hurries off to spend some of his new wealth, he leaves the bowl right side up. And who can say what might get into the Full Belly Bowl in his absence?
Fully realized in Wendy Halperin's beautiful and intricate illustrations, Jim Aylesworth's whimsical folktale will delight readers while striking a note of caution.

In return for the kindness he showed a wee small man, a very old man is given a magical bowl that causes problems when it is not used properly.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Halperin's (Hunting the White Cow) sprightly, elaborately paneled illustrations set a light-hearted tone for this variation on a classic folktale motif. When an old man who lives in a cozy but meager home saves a "wee small man" from a fox and then helps him recuperate, he receives the gift of a "full belly bowl." An accompanying letter explains the rules: "When not in use, store it upside down." At first all is well, as the magic bowl multiplies whatever is placed in it, feeding the old man and his cat in grand style. Then the old man decides to use the bowl to multiply coins, and, excited at the prospect of untold wealth, he forgets the rule. The cottage is overrun first by mice (one crawls into the bowl), then by cats (the man multiplies his own cat to catch the mice)--and in the mayhem, the bowl breaks. Aylesworth's (Through the Night) nimble story keeps the action going, transcending cautionary tale to deliver an amusing lark. The softly shaded and meticulously drawn images have a homespun quality that underscores the story's domesticity. Multiple panels unfold the plot in a series of airy, intricate vignettes; their borders are alight with elements that echo each scene, from fruit and flowers to birds, cats and mice. Aylesworth and Halperin make a wonderful team: like the magic bowl, their talents runneth over. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The bowl in question is wondrous magic, as are so many similar objects in fairy tales--it offers bounty but comes with a warning that causes trouble if disregarded. The very old man in the story has rescued and restored to health a "wee small man," who leaves the bowl with a warning. The old man discovers to his delight that whatever he puts into the bowl multiplies. When he forgets to turn it over, first spiders, then mice take over the house and his cat Angelina multiplies to chase the mice. In the melee, the bowl is broken. But the old man loves the cats, and lives on happily, "promising himself that he would be much more careful next time..." The telling is full without being elaborate, relatively without passion. Halperin introduces the characters, human and animal, on the cover, along with her multiple frame method housing many activities. The "tiny house" they inhabit is a modest wooden shack where the gray bearded man reads, eats, and plays a fiddle. When he uses the bowl to multiply his pennies, we see him at a table in front of a fanciful, turreted mansion. Festoons of fruits and vegetables reminiscent of the delicate borders in illuminated manuscripts surround him. These naturalistic, greatly detailed drawings tell a fuller story of a gentle man content enough with his life to enjoy a momentary prosperity but able to sit and fiddle philosophically when the magic is gone. The visual story takes much longer to appreciate because we want to linger and then return to each imaginatively sequenced intriguingly designed page.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689810336
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 701,060
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Anderson Halperin is an acclaimed artist who has illustrated dozens of books for children, including Let’s Go Home by Cynthia Rylant, Soft House by Jane Yolen, and Turn, Turn, Turn! by Peter Seeger. She lives in South Haven, Michigan.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2004

    Wonderful treasure of a book

    Our family loves this book. It's suitable for the very young as a picture book as well as the older elementary-age child for it's message. The sweet old man learns not to be greedy, to be happy with what he has. It reads like an old fairy tale, fable kind of story. The pictures are amazing. There are lots of repeated little things on the pages for the young reader to look for and spot. The detail is amazing. We see something new every time and the story never gets old. Boy and girl alike will surely love this book for years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2003


    Mr. Aylesworth came to my daughter's school and signed books for the children. This is the book that she choose. What a delightful story! Mr. Aylsworth had the children involved in his talk. What a wonderful man! The kids were so excited and could quote him back his books. What a joy!

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