Written by Karen Hess
Illustrated by Wendy Watson
I admit it. I am partial to books that create conversation because really this is half the fun of a really good read aloud session. Spuds invites much discussion. The first time I read this book with my children there were many questions and explanations about vocabulary and life situations. How can I not love a book that teaches a great word like "spud" which was previously unknown? I am also partial to books that show my children just how good they really do have it. This story has the ability to remind us of this.
The mother in this story is tired and overworked. The children are typical, except they are also a little more hungry. One night while mom is working the night shift they decide to pluck a few spuds from a neighboring field, their mouths fairly watering at the prospect. They tirelessly work at it and when they arrive home they are in for a sorrowful surprise not only in their pickings, but their feelings. Mother sets them straight the next day, and luckily the farmer enjoys a little humor and shows appreciation for children.
The illustrations in this book are wonderfully done, interesting but simple, and done from great angles. My favorite element of these illustrations are the pure colors chosen --the blue sky is just such a blue that I just know it is fall. That is indeed the color of a blue fall sky and a yellow field with the sun tilted in such a way that it makes things golden. Amazing!
This book is loaded with rich vocabulary and lessons, making it perfect for a read-aloud where learning occurs on many levels. Once again this is a book that is really meant to be reread and rediscussed. After all, I can't let my kids continue to believe you really can eat and fry rocks! We'll read it again and they'll learn this and more along the way. Just they way I like it.