The exact date of a Tater Day is in dispute – in Kentucky it’s traditionally celebrated on the first Monday of April as a large festival in honor of a local crop – the sweet potato. Some say it’s in August, some say Tater Tot day is February. Some say March 31 is Tater Day in general. But since it’s in dispute, and it’s more of a general and unofficial holiday in honor of the lowly spud, we thought it’d be ok to celebrate it right here.
Turns out, we couldn’t think of a potato book right off the bat. So I (Meghan) did what I always do when stumped with a literary challenge – I spent a few minutes of research on Amazon, buckled the kids in the car, and hit the local library. Turns out, there are quite a few books out there, but one that proved to be my (and both kids’) favorite by a mile:
One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice, illustrated by Andrea U’Ren
We loved this book for three main reasons. One, it’s a great book. (That had to come first.) It takes the basis of a Chinese folk tale (the story of the magic pot) and plunks it in the middle of an Irish potato-eating couple’s world. Mr. & Mrs. O’Grady are so poor, they only have one potato a day to eat. Until they find a magic pot, that multiplies everything you put in it… The story is sweet, the illustrations are lovely, and it’s just generally a fun book to read.
Reason number two that we loved this book is that Molly and Jacob’s Grandpa made up a very silly game to tease them, where he would sing “One potato, two potato, three potato four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more,” but at random intervals he’d stop singing and tweak their noses and yell “Nose!” The kids find this HILARIOUS. (Now is a good time to remind you that they’re 5!) So the title alone reminds them of Grandpa, and they play the game for ages.
The final reason is really mine. Molly and Jacob just had their 5th birthday. It came about 6 weeks after Christmas. Our house is filled to the brim with gifts. We’ve been talking a lot about how lucky they are to have all these toys and books and games and clothes, but I feel like it doesn’t resonate and I worry that they’ll take this abundance for granted. Both this book and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory have been nice spring boards for us to talk about how lucky we are to have so much, and how there are good people who are not as fortunate, like Charlie Bucket and Mr. & Mrs. O’Grady, who have only one potato, or may get only one chocolate bar a year. I know it’s a small topic, but it’s been our foray into talking about having and giving and appreciating, and I’ve loved using this book in that context as well.
Now go eat a potato.