Friday, August 29, 2014

Book: Give and Take by Chris Raschka

Give and Take by Chris Raschka. New York, NY; Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 2014. 40 pages. 

An apple farmer is surprised to find a little man in his apple tree one morning so he asks the tiny man, called Take, to come with him. From the moment that Take climbs onto the man's basket of apples, he begins to whisper about taking anything and everything that is in front of him. The farmer listens without thought and finds himself walking great distances with a ton of unwanted pumpkins in his basket. The next day, after throwing Take out of his house, the farmer returns to his orchard to collect more ripe apples only to find another little man in his tree, called Give, whom he invites to come with him. Give is all about giving advice. He tells the farmer to give away all of his apples, to share his opinions with anyone that they come upon, even if that person may not want or need any advice. Finally, after returning home with nothing, and going to sleep hungry, the farmer has enough and throws Give out the next morning. Hoping to gather more apples from his orchard, the farmer and his dog are surprised to find both little men arguing about whether giving or taking is better - frustrated with their actions, the farmer picks up both men and some apples and goes home. On his walk, he does a little of both giving and taking in a controlled manner rather than going to the extreme that the little men went to. In the end, by not giving into any impulsive decisions, the farmer ends up with a great treat which he shares with his new friends.

This story is all about learning to make the right decision. Chris Raschka introduces the concept of not being greedy and taking the time to think about consequences of your choice before you reach a decision by showing examples of extremes. Raschka's ink and watercolor illustrations show the intensity of the situations that the farmer finds himself in when he listens to someone's advice without considering what he may want to do. This book would be better for children at about the first to third grade level as the concepts and words used are a bit more complex.

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