Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Harvey Potter’s Balloon Farm
 By Jerdine Nolan 
Illustrations by Mark Buehner

A wonderful fantasy! Tons of fun and imagination in this story!  Beautiful, bright, colorful illustrations!

Book Talk
A young girl narrates this delightful story of Harvey Potter, a local farmer who grows and harvests—of all things—balloons!

No one in the farming community  knows exactly how Harvey does it, but in his fields he grows every shape, kind and brilliant color of balloon. The balloons grow at the top of what looks like a corn stalk. When he brings the balloons into town to sell, the folks flock around his truck to purchase the beautiful crop of balloons.

We learn that Harvey is simple, plain and strange.  He wears the same clothes all the time and carries a conjure stick under his arm at all times, no matter what he is doing.

The young girl decides she wants to befriend Harvey (which she does) to learn how he grows balloons (  which she doesn’t-yet!).  She often sits with him on his porch sharing lemonade. Her hope is that he will share his secret to growing balloons with her, but he never does.

Some favorite lines from this part of the story: “After a while, I just liked going around him.  He didn’t ask you no questions about why you weren’t this or that.  He just let a person be. He let a person sit and think out loud sometimes, and…well…that’s a mighty good thing to do.”

One night the girl decides to watch Harvey in his field because that is when he does his farming.  She climbs a tree and witnesses some amazing and magical dances and levitations by Harvey and his conjure stick!  The next day he has new balloons growing in his field and tells the girl she can take a few of the plants.

The book ends with the girl telling readers that Harvey grew a balloon big enough for her to use to fly away in.  She settles somewhere else,  grows up, starts her own farm and cultivates—you guessed it—balloons!

One last favorite use of words by the author: “Harvey Potter went on growing the best, prettiest balloons this side of anywhere.”

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Workshop Strategies: Predicting, Inferring, Questioning
Writing Workshop: Fantasy Narrative, Writer’s Voice
Grammar: Subject-verb agreement (dialect)

Jerdine Nolan’s websitehttp://www.jerdinenolen.com/

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