Monday, 14 July 2008

potato people

We have had this wonderful book for quite a while, and enjoy reading and talking about it. "The Potato People" by the fantastic New Zealand author and illustrator Pamella Allen. It's about a grandma and her grandson who spend each Friday together (his mum works, I assume she's a single mum). One rainy day they make some potato people using four potatoes and some thumb tacks and scraps of fabric and other little pieces. After a few weeks the potatoes start to grow horns, and Grandma plants them.

We've talked often about making our own little people, and finally this week I remembered to buy some extra potatoes for Ari to use. Yesterday he sat down, while I started dinner, and made some amazing and fun creatures. Each potato seemed the have many reincarnations as he pulled bits out and changed bits here and there. Some wooden bamboo skewers and coloured thumb tacks was enough to keep him happy and creatively thinking for quite a while.
He made stories up about his robot potatoes, some had head phones, some had poky ears, or buttons. They had spiky hair and cute little coloured eyes.

When he woke up this morning the first thing he asked, before even out of bed, was if the potatoes had grown horns yet. He wanted to run and check to see if they were decomposing and getting ready for the compost, or planting heap. I told him that they'll take a little while before they start to grow shoots.
In the meantime we'll watch them each day, waiting and looking. And learning more about how things work, how our food grows, how seeds are different shapes, how plants - and even animals - can grow from different beginnings.
Rare moments of sitting quietly reading, together. They are looking at - reading - Beatrix Potter, and choosing which one they like best.
And Sam and I will marvel, once again, at the ingenuity and imagination and ideas and intelligence and creativeness of our son.

This is a pull-along Humpty Dumpty that has been mine since I was about 3 years old. Been through a bit this little one, but made of tough Fisher Price quality.
Another favourite Pamela Allen story is "Mr McGee and the Biting Flee". We all (me included!) get quite laughy when we get to the part where he removes all his clothes, to find the flee, and you get to see little bits of the naked man before he jumps into the ocean. Not a whole lot of kids books show that part of the body. Please, see if your local library has any of her books, a long list, they are all quite wonderful for the pictures and well and the language and simple stories and words.


  1. Anonymous4:49 pm

    Beautiful post Ell, a little while since I've looked so it was excellent to find such a little gem as a reward!

    I suspect fisherprice quality is no longer all that it was.

    As for the 'Flee' - I presume it is meant to be flee not flea?

    Talk to you soon or sometime shortly after that.


  2. Thanks for reminding me of the potato magic!
    And what is the thing with HUmpty Dumpty?? We learn it our English classes, and you don't reflect upon meaning when you're 11, especially when learning a foreign language - but what is it ABOUT??

  3. Thanks Timbo, for spellchecking me. I'll do it for you any day. I probably shouldn't post to my blog when I don't have time to proof it first, hey?
    Maybe my mind has "fleeing", rather than the itchy sort of "flea".

  4. I remember being a kid and having Mr.potato head. The fabric one was cooler because you could be more creative. Both were cool.



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