Two Old Potatoes and Me

Overview

One day at her dad’s house, a young girl finds two old potatoes in the cupboard. “Gross.” But before she can throw them away, her dad suggests they try to grow new potatoes from the old ones, which have sprouted eyes. Told from May to September, the potato-growing season, the story includes all the basic steps for growing potatoes while subtly dealing with the parents’ recent divorce. Just like the new potatoes that emerged from ugly old potatoes, this dadand daughter move on and make a new life together in the ...
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Overview

One day at her dad’s house, a young girl finds two old potatoes in the cupboard. “Gross.” But before she can throw them away, her dad suggests they try to grow new potatoes from the old ones, which have sprouted eyes. Told from May to September, the potato-growing season, the story includes all the basic steps for growing potatoes while subtly dealing with the parents’ recent divorce. Just like the new potatoes that emerged from ugly old potatoes, this dadand daughter move on and make a new life together in the face of unavoidable and unpleasant change. Carolyn Fisher’s artwork will be instantly recognizable from her recent picture book debut, A Twisted Tale, and her trademark high-energy art and design infuse joy and humor into this heartwarming story.

After a young girl finds two old potatoes at her father's house, they plant and tend them to see if they will have new potatoes in September.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Backyard science and agriculture, a favorite theme, exuberantly illustrated.
Publishers Weekly
In this sanguine gardening tale, 67 new potatoes and a warm father/daughter rapport grow out of two inedible spuds. "Last spring at my dad's house, I found two old potatoes in the back of the cupboard," says a girl, holding the desiccated, sprouty lumps. She sticks out her tongue and pronounces them "gross" (spelled out in cubes along the left border), but her father thinks they have potential. Step by step, the girl explains how she and her dad till the soil, carve the potatoes into chunks and plant them sprout-side-up. In June, they find "violet flowers" on the young plants. "When we watered, I accidentally sprayed my dad with the hose," laughs the girl. In July, potato bugs invade, and in August the leaves dry in the sun. "We weeded./ We watered./ We waited," the narrator says, and Fisher (A Twisted Tale) spells out the alliterative words in sinuous alfalfa sprouts, wavy blue liquid and clumpy earthworm tunnels in gray-brown dirt. By September, the girl's hair is longer and a crop of potatoes lies underground. Coy (Vroomaloom Zoom) hints that the girl and her father make productive use of limited time together: "How's your bedroom at your mom's house coming?" the father asks as they take a break from gardening. Fisher hand-prints the text for a casual, crayony look, and her unique multimedia compositions feature loamy dark browns, rich greens and denim blues. This well-realized story brims with affection and satisfyingly concludes with a recipe and a buttery bowl of mashed potatoes. Ages 5-8. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Two old potatoes find a new beginning at Dad's house as they are rescued from being thrown away. Or—are the potatoes symbolic of a father and a grandfather? The choice is yours in this colorfully illustrated work about growth, renewal and father-daughter bonding. What begins in the Spring as a gross discovery in the back of a cupboard becomes an overflowing harvest of luscious potatoes. Dad envisions a garden full of potatoes, and after consulting with his father, plants nine potato pieces—each with their eye facing up. Extravagant artwork conveys the natural beauty of nature, potato bugs and all, as well as portrays the unique relationship of a daughter and her father. The text swirls on the page, enhancing the divergent directions common to stages of growth. Included is the nursery rhyme every potato lover knows and cherishes—"One potato, two potato, three potato, four"—in which readers can practice their counting skills all the way up to 67. How large would that bowl of mashed potatoes be? A great teaser to promote a potato recipe day or to augment a collection of food books. Even a mashed potato 'cook-off' could be in order using the recipe tucked at the end of the story. Yum yum! 2003, Alfred A. Knopf,
— Elizabeth Young <%ISBN%>037592180X
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-While visiting her dad's house, a little girl finds two sprouting potatoes. After consulting Grandpa, father and daughter cut the spuds, plant the pieces, nurture the garden, and await the results. A highly stylized layout and notable mixed-media illustrations distinguish this tender tale. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A father and daughter bond after divorce by turning two old potatoes ("Gross!") into a gardening project. The daughter narrates, month by month, as the two plant, cultivate, and ultimately harvest their crop, the gardening work lightened by water fights and conversation. Energetic mixed-media illustrations depict a dark-skinned father and a lighter-skinned daughter in a painless and message-free representation of a biracial family, complementing the low-key handling of the post-divorce relationship. Coy's narration is colloquial and casual and just right. Fisher's illustrations, however, are anything but casual, busily incorporating the text into the design in a way that is clearly meant to be organic but ends up frequently making the letters difficult to read. This overdesign is unfortunate, as the optimism and good cheer of the total package are undeniably appealing. (Picture book. 4-7)
From the Publisher
Praise for Vroomaloom Zoom:
“The rhythmic, repetitive text and the vibrant pictures against colorful pages make this story a perfect read-aloud.”
School Library Journal

From the Hardcover Library Binding edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375921803
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/10/2003
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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