I was thrilled to learn my county library system is in possession of a copy of Frank Asch's Popcorn, which was published in 1979 and has been difficult to find for quite some time. I owned a copy of this book as a child and have long wanted to share it with my boys. Only problem is that somehow, between childhood and adulthood, I lost track of it. It's not a surprise; my parents worked in education (my mother was a junior high teacher and my father an elementary school principal) and often took our old books to their schools as we outgrew them in order to make space on our shelves for new books.
In Popcorn, Sam's parents leave him alone at home while they go to a Halloween party. While they are gone he has a party of his own. Each guest brings popcorn to share. Eventually they decide to pop all of the popcorn--you can guess where this leads. There is so much popcorn that the kettle overflows and the popcorn fills the room...then several rooms...then the entire house. The only solution, it seems, is to eat every last kernel before Sam's parents come home.
The one thing I remembered very vividly about this story is the way the popcorn is shown taking over the entire house. There's just something about those illustrations with all those tiny pieces of popcorn.
Even today I marvel at this spread:
It's funny because we happened to be visiting family this weekend and my mom asked what this week's recipe was going to be. When I told her it was popcorn she actually said, "Oh, you should read the boys that book! Remember, the Halloween book with the bear who has the party and all his friends bring popcorn?" My mom remembers it as fondly as I do.
My kids love popcorn. Their favorites are kettle corn and cinnamon popcorn. We make cinnamon popcorn using a simple recipe my husband came up with.
- 1/3 cup popcorn
- 1 tablespoon butter
- pinch of salt
Additional equipment: hot air popper
2. While popcorn is popping, make the cinnamon butter. Melt butter in microwave. Add salt and shake in some cinnamon (to taste). Stir together.
3. When popcorn is ready, pour the cinnamon butter over it and toss to coat. Sprinkle on additional cinnamon if desired.
I am glad I was able to find Popcorn because, as I had suspected, my kids loved it. It was especially fun to see them laugh out loud at the same places I laughed at as a child. It is not billed as an easy reader but the text is simple enough that my six year old, who is beginning to read juvenile chapter books, was able to read it. He especially liked the pages that featured speech bubbles; he is beginning to get interested in graphic novels and books that feature a combination of traditional text and graphic novel elements. One of the things he's learned in his writing workshops at school is how different written devices (like speech bubbles, captions and labels) can help tell a story. So it's nice to see this in practice, as it helps reinforce that idea.
According to author Frank Asch's website, Popcorn has recently been reissued by CQ Products. Copies of the edition I remember as a kid are available from online used booksellers like Alibris and Abebooks. And if you still can't find it but want to share it with your kids, check out the animated book at Asch's website.