By Tricia Copeland, 7th grade Language Arts Teacher
Tricia Copeland has been one of my Language Arts teachers for the last several years. She has also served as the Literacy Coach for our school and is, undoubtedly, a teacher who professes to LOVE books and has a bit of an addiction to buying them for her classroom. She is an unofficial librarians because of how many books she has in her classroom.
Ms. Copeland, looking for a book among the plethora of books in her classroom library.
I like picture books because they’re visual, they’re short, and they’re accessible for struggling readers. Very often they’re filled with elements that can be mined for higher-level activities in the classroom setting. When I’m introducing a literary element or figurative language, picture books enable me to provide excellent text examples without a major investment of time that would come with using a novel. When I read Diana Prichard’s new book The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen I realized that this is a picture book I would use at the 7th grade level for inferences, similes, vocabulary (words like “rummaged”), predictions (“he peered behind the orange juice”) and use of onomatopoeia (“BAGAAAAWK”).
I would pick this book up purely because of the style of its artwork. Personally, I wish Heather Knopf would sell artwork of her prints!
The artwork immediately drew me in along with the title because it makes me wonder. It’s catchy and the expressions on the animals’ faces are adorable. It’s intriguing because it sets it up by walking into the kitchen for “another boring breakfast” but the shadow of the cow on the floor warns that boring has no place at this meal.
I love how the dad completely ignores the unusual happenings within his kitchen and acts oblivious to every absurd thing occurring around him. This book is fantastic in its juxtaposition of Patrick’s trembling hands while his father is singing and cracking eggs. It’s not a stretch to say that I loved this book. There are enough clues from the author about what’s coming up so that you really want to turn the page.
For kids who have no idea where their food comes from, the adults in their lives could use this delightful story to start the conversation about this essential awareness. Throughout the story, Patrick is proud of his contribution of ingredients and is invested in his meal which is a very important lesson in the book. His worldview about his food becomes more real to him as a character. For example, milk is more than just a plastic jug sitting in the grocery store cooler and eggs are more than just a Styrofoam container. I so appreciate that the other worldliness of where our food comes from is being connected to Patrick’s world in a fantastical way.
I am guessing that it’s the shadow of a pig on the second to last page, but could it be an allusion to the Three Little Pigs? If it’s a pig – oh, my! Eggs come willingly out of the chicken; milk comes willingly out of the cow, but the pig does not willingly give up its bacon. Will there be a sequel? Please!!
Thanks for reviewing our new title, Trish! You can preorder Diana Prichard's book, The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen, by clicking here.
Grade Level: Preschool to 2
Publisher: Little Pickle Press