A Magic Pot and an Unexpected Gift ; in This Book for Kids Ages 4-8, a Couple Loves Each Other but Longs for Friends with Whom to Share Their Blessings

Article excerpt

As children sit down to a bounty of turkey, cranberry sauce, and conversation this week, they'll appreciate the story of Mr. and Mrs. O'Grady - and others in their situation. In One Potato, Two Potato, a new picture book by Cynthia DeFelice, spuds are the couple's sole source of sustenance - and there's only one starchy staple for them to divide each day.

The O'Gradys are so thin, they fit on the same chair. They're so poor, they share just one raggedy coat and one tattered blanket. Yet they are filled with love and gratitude for each other.

In an Irish twist on the magic-pot folk tale, Mr. O'Grady unearths a black caldron in the potato patch. When he brings it home, he and his wife discover that it's special: Everything that's dropped in doubles in quantity, leading to a change of fortune - and a few simple math lessons for kids. ("Mr. O'Grady took the two potatoes, placed them in the pot, and pulled out four. He threw the four potatoes into the pot and took out eight.... Soon the O'Gradys had enough potatoes for a feast.")

They stock up on candles, hairpins - and even turn one gold coin into enough change to buy a new coat, blanket, and chair. Yet despite their windfall, they still long for something more meaningful than food and furnishings - friends.

Though the O'Gradys love each other, Mrs. O'Grady wishes for "someone with whom she could share recipes for boiled potatoes and sweet memories of how it felt to touch her newborn babies' downy heads. …