A Pocket Can Have a Treasure in It.


32 pages
ISBN 978-1-55451-125-9
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Deirdre Betteridge
Reviewed by Aileen Wortley


A small child is depicted on a farm, as she goes about her day and observes things that can be found inside other “things”: “A barn can have a horse in it. And a house can have a ‘me’ in it. A bowl can have a berry in it. Can a sock have a head in it? No! But a sock can have a toe in it.”


The storyline is subtle, shown through the objects that a young child might come across during her daily routine. But there are also some major events occurring, such as the arrival of her grandmother to help the little girl and her father as well as the advent of a new baby. The story is circular, starting and ending with a morning and evening view of a horse in the barn. There is a great joie de vivre about the little girl, and gentle humour pervades the simple concepts. The phrase “A barn can have a horse in it,” which begins and ends the story, was inspired by an unused line from a draft version of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.


The observations might become monotonous or contrived were it not for breaks in the rhythm when a question is asked or when something about an object diverts the teller’s attention, such as “Out” when they find a puppy in a basket or “Let me hold that baby” when she sees a wiggle in a blanket. The text is simple, based around the concept being described, but the questions ensure that this will be a participation story whether it is used in a one-on-one situation or with a larger group such as a preschool story time. Once again Kathy Stinson has created a story destined to become an essential book in every child’s experience.


The bright watercolour illustrations by Deirdre Betteridge are simple and uncluttered. They reflect the subtlety and humour of the text very charmingly and the vitality of the young girl is captured in the lively facial expressions and sense of action and energy.


The book was nominated for the 2009 shortlist for the Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon award for illustration and is one of the books which appeared in an International Federation of Library Associations display in Rome in August 2009. Children aged two to six will love this book, and it should be an essential purchase for all libraries. Highly recommended.


Stinson, Kathy., “A Pocket Can Have a Treasure in It.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/29069.